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The Imposter's Tale

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Book One: Of Wishes and Wonders

Prologue

Deep within the jungles of the far west, Sarlatan, a young fox wandered freely. Without a care in world, he stopped to pick up a flower, it was a little rose.

"Wow," he said to himself calmly, "I've ne'er seen a rose b'fore, there suppos'd t' be very rare..." 350px-Sarlatan.jpg Sarlatan, by Scotty

About half a season ago, Sarlatan had gone down to the coast and sighted a ship. Sarlatan had sneaked up by it and had heard that rose's were very rare.

"...an' valuable." came a slightly hoarse voice from a nearby banyan tree.

Sarlatan whirled around, and what he saw stunned him. It was a incredibly hideous rat, tall too. He wore hardly any clothing, just a torn and tattered garment with multiple rips and tears. Completely unlike the fox, who was wearing a mossleather robe, with slightly worn boots on his paws.

Taken aback by the creature's ugliness, Sarlatan only managed a slight squeak, "W...w...what d..do ye...ye mean, v...v...va...valuable?"

The rat looked at Sarlatan awkwardly, "Oh y's, rose's are so rare that they are us'd as a tradin' thing, if ye give that t' a m'rchant, 'e'll give ye a bran' new garmen' fer ye."

Just as Sarlatan was about to say something, the rat leaped up and, quicker than Sarlatan's eyes could follow; he snatched the rose out of his paw, and disappeared into the jungle, without leaving a trace.

"Hey!!" Sarlatan yelled, "Give that back!! It's mine. I foun' it!!"

The answer came from behind a tall lancewood, "Eh, y's. Ye did fin' it, but 'tis like th' ol' sayin' goes, 'If ye can't keep it in yer own paws, 'tis gonna en' up in 'nother beasts claws'

"But that's not fair!!" Sarlatan protested.

"Eh," the rat replied, "life ain't fair, an' if ye don't like it, tuff Hellfate t' ye. That's how ye s'rvive 'n th' Jungle o' the Far West. Evil an' cruel, that's th' rule."

Just as Sarlatan was about to say something in return to the rude advice (if you were to call it that), Sarlatan sniffed a very disturbing scent. It filled his nostrils repulsively, and before it made him fall asleep, he breathed these words.

"Fine, I'll be mean an' cruel, ye jus' wait." and then he went fast into a deep slumber.


Chapter One

It is very hard to believe that, that unjust event happened under the same sun that had just rose over the horizon and was showering Mossflower Woods in a bath of sunlight. It was indeed a peaceful day.

"Get yer lazy b'hind up off the groun', an' get t' work! Stir yer stumps, ye puny plume-plucked pigeonegg." said Ronuro Finnpaw, better known as Ron, in a passable vermin's voice, from the top of a oak tree.

Maybe not.

Ron's companion, a incredibly tall mouse, Coelusculas, much better known as Coel, not knowing that his friend was pulling a wool over his eyes, went straight for panic.

"Ron, Ron. Oh no, where is that big oaf-of-an-otter." Coel said.

"What!," taken aback by the sudden insult, Ron stormed out from the oak tree and thundered toward the mouse, "what do you mean, a big oaf-o'-an-otter. I'd ought to give you a good chunkin' for that, matey."

Coel, not afraid to stand up for himself against anybeast, answered, "Well it wasn't very nice of you to scare me like that, you great logheaded lout."

"A loghead'd lout, why you frothy flapmouth'd fishgill." Ron shot back as quick as Coel had ended.

Absolutely stunned by the rapidness of his insults, Coel stammered out, "Oh yeah, well your nothing but a drooly knotmouthed ratsnout."

"What, what kind o' insult is that. The first part o' the word don't e'en begin with the same letter. Your nothing but a junk insulter." the big otter said.

The opposing mouse, still not afraid replied, "And well what was that, that didn't have the beginning rhyme, as you put it."

"Oh balderdash, that wasn't s'possed to 'ave the beginning rhyme. Oh my seasons, you want an insult, I'll give you an insult. Your nought but a reeky ranky rougish ruttish rotty reeling-ripe rough-hewn rude-raised rump-fed rubbish pile." Ron said in a fiery rage towards is friend.

Completely unprepared for the shear ferociousness of the remark, Coel tried hard not to show the coming tears from his eye's, "Well," he whimpered, "I..." he paused in a sobering manner, "I didn't know..." another break filled with weeping, "who... felt that way... about me..." he walked into a corner of the opening and sat himself down so he could cry.

Ron, who always felt sympathy for a crying creature, came over to Coel and tried to comfort him, "No, no, don't cry. It's okay, listen, I'm sorry for insultin' you. I didn't mean to make you upset. Come on, what do you say, pal o' mine."

Ron quietly waited for his friend's answer.


Chapter Two

The red-colored sandstone Abbey, known as Redwall continued to sleep undisturbed under the freshly born sun. A nearby robin tweeted peacefully, it's melodious song bouncing to and from the dusty red walls of the center structure to the outer battlements. Two full-grown moles, pulling a cart fulled with vegetables and newly-picked fruit for the Kitchens, were talking to each other in their own quaint molespeech.

"Hurr, et be a gurt sunny daey, eh, Brumm." Foremole Durrum said.

Brumm, a strongly built tuneller, wrinkled his snout. "Ho urr, you'm say'd et. Oi jus' 'ope that'll et stay this way, t'morrow. Me an' th' liddle 'uns are gonna go inna the woodlands an' foind planties fer Frior Craeg."

"Boi hurr. Well, inna that case, cownt moi en." the Foremole replied.

They trotted into Great Hall, carry the great load of vittles right behind them.


The hedgewife, Ferna Quilltip, was picking fruit in the Orchard. The hedgehog lady spoke quietly to herself as she overlooked the contents of the basket that she was holding.

"Pears, apples, bilberries, plums... Oh my, they're nought but liddle uns. No matter, they'll still make tasty beverges. Strawberries aren't ready yet, hmmm, pity. I do like a good class o' strawberry cordial. Oh let me see, what have I forgotten..." she looked at her basket once more.

"What?" she exclaimed, "what happened to all my plums..."

The sight of little Dibbuns running away reassured her.

"Hey, you nasty liddle rogues," she pointed a finger at them, "come back here with those plums, the Friar needs those for his wild plum pudden."

Realizing that they had been caught in the act, the Dibbuns silently walked back to where Mrs. Quilltip was standing.

One of the Dibbuns, a small squirrel named Ahtren tried to protest, "What, we ne'er stole your plums. We were... protecting them. Yes, yes, protecting them, that's what we were doing."

Ferna decided to play along with the Dibbuns little game, "Oh, yes, I imagine you were, but from what, I may ask?"

Just as Ahtren was about to answer a little mole-Dibbun called Gruggo shouted, "A eagle!"

"Huh! An eagle!?" Ferna Quilltip face was a picture of mock fear.

"Oh, yes," another Dibbun added, "a huge big eagle!"

"Well," the hedgewife asked, "please tell me, my heroes, how did you defeat this eagle."

It's as if that, that statement was a cue for the other Dibbuns to randomly shout out their own addition.

"'Ee saw it creep up b'hind yoo!"

"An' it tried t' steal yore plums!"

"Rioght out o' yore baskitt!

"Yeah! It sneak'd up b'hind you an' us'd it's claw to take a plum!"

"But then we gotta big stick!"

"An' hit it on 'is 'ead!"

"Then, since a eagle's claws are drrtie!"

"'Ee took 'em from yore basket!"

"An' we were gonna wash 'em!"

"Oh, really?" Ferna Quilltip said when she had heard enough.

"Yes, yes!" the group of Dibbuns answered as one.

"Well, I guess I can let each of you have one, for your bravery." Mrs. Quilltip gave into the Dibbuns little scheme.

"Thankie. Oh, thankie sweetly marm," they said as they were strolling back into the main building of the Abbey.

Once they were out of earshot, Ferna Quilltip resumed to talking to herself, "Oh my, that was a pretty good joke, them Dibbuns pulled on me. They even stiffled their laughs."


Chapter Three

A high, warm, noontide summer sun shown down on Sarlatan the Dark.

Sarlatan was coming!

He was large and strong; a huge evil fox with rough fur and big jagged fangs. His only clothing was a cloak, stained with blood, that tied around his thick neck by a rat's skull. He also had on, a dull green rag that covered where half his tail should've been, he had lost part of his tail in battle with a full-fledged warrior badger from the Southwest lands.

Sarlatan had lost half his tail.

The badger had lost it's life.

Sarlatan was a wild fox; the fiercest, biggest, most savage beast to ever come and step paw on any shore. His body was a dark and murky mixture of orange and brown, almost black, with rotting scars all over him. From his half-tailtip up to his stench-breathing snout and up past his rotten-like colored eyes. One slitted yellow, the other a mossy green.

Now, he was marching into some woodlands with his army of a multitude of... Actually, nobeast knew how many followers Sarlatan had, some said 'it exceeded the number of stars in the sky,' others thought 'it was more numerous than the sands on all shores.' Sarlatan's army - was ultimately fearing him, yet, obeying the fox's every command. It was made up of many different vermin, ferrets, weasels, rats, stoats, a few pine martens, and even some creatures that you'd be hard pressed to find at a fox's command; a vicious chained-up eagle, called Skyclaw, a couple magpies, crows, and even a raven. There were also reptiles too, lizards, salamanders, a "pet" snake called Dethfang, a small number of toads and frogs. There was even a small tribe of captive bats that the hordebeats would use for warfare.

So, in reality there was about every single vermin imaginable in Sarlatan's horde. All, but one. One creature lacked presence in The Dark One's ranks... foxes.

Sarlatan didn't trust foxes, he thought that his kind was a most cunning and stealthly in all the world, in fact, he didn't trust anyone. Not even his second-in-command; Bloodbane, who carried a long oaken pole fixed with the badger he had slain's skull. This was Sarlatan's personal symbol... and the symbol that struck fear into the heart of anybeast who saw it.

Sarlatan feared on living thing!

The Dark One spat to the side of him, he turned in that direction and stopped to sight two young little rabbits frolicking in an opening. Tasty thing: a pity that they couldn't feed a starving horde.

"Ah, yes, these woodlands are plentiful with food, much better than me homeland." he said to himself.


Friar Curllan was a fair-sized mouse. As the superior Chef of all Mossflower, he could cook anything and everything, from sweet nutbrown redcurrant and applecream shortbread tart dipped in an acorn and apple puree latticed with white nutmeg cream and sugared rosehip syrup to the biggest deeper'n'ever'n'turnip'n'tater'n'beetroot pie imaginable by any mole.

The cookermouse looked up from the bilberry scone he was "taste-testing", only to see Brumm and the Foremole bring in the trolley cart of fresh cooking ingredients.

"Ah, y's, 'hank yoo Foremole an' yoo too Brumm," the Friar said through an extremely full mouth.

"Ho urr! Oh Froir 'tisn't poloite t' ta'k wi' yer mowth fooll, an' yer sprayin' that scone all o'er owurr faces." the Foremole complained.

Realizing what he had done, the Friar "daintily" finished the scone, and apologized, "Oh yes, dearie me, my deepest apologies to you, Foremole and you, Brumm."

Brumm, who was still wiping his snout clean of crumbs, answered for the two of them, "Burr 'okey, you gurt Froir, us'ns 'cept yer 'pologie, noaw c'n you please take a lukk at owurr vittles."

Unused to using molespeech, the Friar was momentarily lost, but then realization slowly set on him, "Oh, right, vit-tles," he said uncertainly, "let me take a look at him."

The two moles pulled the cart a little closer to Friar Curllan, he pulled up his spectacles, which he hardy used, "Oh, yes, very nice, very nice indeed. Youbeasts have really outdone yourselves by picking these vittles, I mean... no, I mean vittles," the mouse was starting to be very fond of the word, "...v i t t l e s, what a quaint little word." he said as he walked off.

The Foremole looked at Brumm, "What's 'ee matter wi' thee Frior, 'tis as if 'ee's ne'er 'eard 'ee wurrd 'vittles' afore."


Chapter Four

Ron as losing patience for his whimpering friend, as somebeast that uses means of "muscular persuasion" it was slightly more difficult to contain his irritation.

Finally, Coel chose to speak to Ron, "Okay, under one condition, though."

"Aye, anything, absolutely anything. What is it?"

"I get to lead us for the rest of the way."

"Then, lead one, you..." Ron muffled the rest.

"What was that, you said?" Coel turned around and asked.

"Oh, nothing, I just said... you perfectly pathfinding pal-o'-mine," it took Ron a while to come up with that one.

"Oh, well in that case; follow me." Coel was the image of confidence.

"Oh man..." Ron mumbled as he trotted after his traveling companion.


It turned out to be a nice, warm day. The late afternoon sun was sinking slowly into the midst of some low-lying clouds on the horizon, the two companions were about to set up camp, when they heard the most queerest of ballads.

"Oooooooooooooooooooooooo!

I am a woods-roming lad,

it's the only life I've ever had.

With, the twinklin' stars 'bove me head

and a, earth as me good ol' jolly bed

I'm fulled with happiness entirely!

Hey! Get away from me, you bally buzzin' bee!"

In a hushed voice Coel conversed with Ron, "What was that?"

"I don't know, but it sure was weird."

"Tut-tut, bad form, m'chaps, talkin' to each other 'bout another beast, and while he's just mindin' his only bally business." another voice joined the conversation.

Both, Ron and Coel turned and saw the same unusual sight.

"Hello, what's the matter with you, haven't you ever seen hare." the self-claimed hare said.

Trying his best not to show "bad form", Ron greeted the hare, "Hello, I'm Ronuro Finnpaw and his this is my companion, Coelusculas. Who are you?"

"Pickalaloo." the odd hare answered.

"What an odd name." Coel said hopeful that Pickalaloo hadn't heard.

Unluckily, he had, "Well, not half as odd as your own flippin' name. I mean whoever heard of a mouse called Coelasusclasculas."

"It's Co-el-u-scu-las, Packilolaloo," Coel returned the favor.

"Name's Pickalaloo, not Packilolaloo. Pick-a-la-loo." the hare shot back.

"That's enough," Ron intervened.

"Quite so, quite so, me roverin' riverdog." Pickalaloo added, "So, where are you bally beast bound to."

"We are seeking a place called 'Redwall', kind of a mysterious name if you ask me." Coel said.

Jumping up, Pickalaloo recited a little ditty.

"O Redwall, O Redwall,

You humbly greet an' welcome all,

with gentle beasts,

and wondrous feasts,

Redwall, is always kind.

If it's Redwall, you seek to find,

once you see it, you'll be spellbind.

O Redwall, O Redwall,

you rise above, the rest an' all.

Redwaaaaaall!!"

"What was that?" Ron asked completely unfamiliar with the concept of ditties.

"That, me fined furred friend, was a song?" Pickalaloo supplied.

"What's a song" Ron blushed until his face turned a rosy pink.

Slightly appalled, Pickalaloo gave an explanation, "A song is musical composition compiled for the use of a voice, such as my own, or voices, it is usually performed by means of singing."

"Oooohh." Ron nodded in fake understanding.


Chapter Five

Sarlatan was drawing nearer! He turned to a tracker-rat called Ragtooth, "You, Ragtooth, where are we?"

Completely fearing the fox, Ragtooth spoke slowly, "Uuhhh, according to me map here, we are on the southern tip of an area of woodlands called..." he squinted hard at the bark-parchment map, "... uhhh... called... Mozzflovver."

Sarlatan stormed over to Ragtooth and ripped the map out of his claws. He stared at it, at first; clueless, but then, all of a sudden, he smacked Ragtooth's face and glared at him, "You scum-witted oaf, it says Mossflower! Who wrote this? This claw-writin' is barely readable, I demand to know who wrote this!"

Not wanting to be "volunteered" up, the hordebeasts pushed an luckless ferret called Wormscum, up toward Sarlatan, "So, you're the beast that's responsible for this," he shoved the map into Wormscum's face.

"Uhhh... uhh... yyeeeess." Wormscum squeaked.

"We'll then, what do you have to say for yourself, you scum-throated lout." Sarlatan showed slight amusement.

Sinking into his tattered bark-leather coat, tumbling back from the sinister hordemaster, Wormsum mumbled something barely understandable, "Umm... sorry."

Sarlatan laughed, truly enjoying the otherbeast's misery and fear.

Bloodbane, realizing the fox's uncommon enjoyment, ask "Uhh, are you okay?"

Sarlatan turned toward his second-in-command, "Oh yes, Bloodbane. Oh yes, I'm more than okay, much more..." he refocused to Wormscum, only to see...

Wormscum had escaped his grasp of heart-gripping fear!

Realizing that, for the second time in his life, he had been duped, Sarlatan shouted, "Why, you scum-livered bilge-throated lout, come back and prove yerself worthy of Sarlatan the Dark!"

When there came no reply, Sarlatan was already fuming with his unsettle rage he could not contain within himself. He instantly started cursing Wormscum with words that not even a black ghost of death would dare say, even in the burliest winter storm at midnight, "You... artless fat-kidneyed clotpole! You gobellied fly-infested barnacle! Why... I oughta rip yer tongue out and shove it down yer throat, I'll tear yer own eyeballs out o' their sockets then feed 'em to you, you spineless bettle-head maggot! I'll rip yer tail off yerself and choke you with it! I'll get you for this! I'll drag you down to Hellgates myself, if it's the last thing I ever do! See if I don't..."

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