Recently at Redwall Abbey, I was helping Abbot Yamaru and the squirrel, apprentice recorder Delroy clean out the gatehouse when we found an extremely old tome. Its pages were just barely legible and it was written in an ancient badger script. Since no one in the abbey could read the tome Father Abbot gave me and my new squirrel friend (who actually is Delroy) permission to take the old tome to Salamandastron for the Badger Lord Cvar to maybe translate the old thing for us.
We left several days ago and are traveling at a fast pace. We have been taking a stream route since this morning; Delroy estimates we'll be there by..., well actually he never finished what he was saying because he wasn't paying attention to the stream course and got hit in the face by an overhanging branch.
Anyway as we neared Salamandastron, a group of hares joined us on their way back from a patrol and when we got to the mountain stronghold the hares took us straight to Lord Cvar. He was much younger than we had thought him to be and to our surprise, he was just as eager as Delroy and I to translate the ancient badger script. Apparently it was written before Redwall was even built and more of a record than tome because it was an old slave that recounted the story to Bella of Brockhall. At the beginning it said that it was a story that had been passed down to the old slave from his father who had been an oarslave in a ship long ago.
The wind blew an eerie song over the snow drifts and through the bare branches of the trees in Mossflower Woods. Most creatures were snuggled deep into under soft blankets near roaring fires, all letting the crackle pop of the flames lull them into Dreamland. Including the guards of Kotir and the fleas who just burrowed deeper into the fur if their inhabitants, including the Lord of a Thousand eyes.
Verdauga lay on his bed having only wakened up moments before. Nearby he could hear his only son, Gingivere moving anxiously about. The fox's concoction was beginning to take effect and he could slowly feel his consciousness deserting him. As he could feel his heart beating on its last thread a vision of the young mouse who had been brought to him earlier flashed through his mind, oh, what was his name? Marcus, Marvin, Martin, oh! Yes! Martin that was it! He relaxed again, and let his thoughts wander back to the time when he was young, living under his father’s cruel paw of distorted justice. He let shame sweep over him as he remembered the days of his older brother, Ungatt’s taunting, when he yearned for the tenderness of Her sweet, sweet voice...
Verdauga looked out over the harbor of his father’s palace, letting the gentle lap of the waves calm his nerves. Grabbing a boiled egg off his plate he bit hungrily into its fleshy skin, the sound of boots startled him out of his trance and he turned his head to see who it was. A slap in the snout answered his question, Ungatt, “What are you eating? Eggs, fish, berries, hm… That looks nice”, he said plucking the egg out of Verdauga’s paw. Shoving the rest of the egg in his mouth, Ungatt asked narrowing his eyes, “Who made these eggs?”
“How should I know? You’re the one who loves them so much.”
“NO... these have pepper. The cook should have been more considerate, they know what pepper does to me!”
“What does Pepper do to you?”
Without an answer Ungatt stood and walked down the hall, roughly, he grabbed a passing servant and snarled,” Take me to the kitchens!” Verdauga gazed after his brother, who was dragging the mouse along by his collar. A small squirrel who had ducked out of harm’s way and was slowly coming towards him. Grabbing the squirrel by the collar of his tattered tunic he demanded, "What time is it?"
"Half past noon! Don't hurt me!" he squeaked and ran off.
Pleased Verdauga brushed off his red cloak, stood, and swaggered to the stairs. He walked along the bright corridor at the bottom of the stairs until he came to an archway lined with honeysuckles. Pulling a dagger from his belt, he neatly sliced one off the vine. Sheathing the blade, he impulsively touched his right hip where his scimitar had previously hung. He frowned, remembering that Ungatt had blamed him for the killing of one of the Throne Room Gaurds, shaking his head he shrugged and continued through the archway.