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This is my first book in three that I am currently writing. Read this one first. I will be putting the others on soon. They refer back to this and there are lots of things that you won't understand if you read them before this one. There will be three of them: BGS, Dirk and Holt Wavecrest. The others have absolutely nothing to do with these and will have their own notes.
A small hedgehog with graying spikes sat in her garden, humming away as she planted her flowers.
Suddenly, a small squirrel of about two seasons old ran out of the woodlands in front of her, followed by another squirrel, slightly older than the first, “Tipper, come back here!” She was calling after him. The little squirrel ran to hide behind the hedgehog.
“Stop trying to hide from me,” the older squirrel said, “I can see you perfectly well. Now come back here.” Tipper immediately ran around to the back of the hedgehog’s home, followed by his sister.
A rather young squirrel walked out of the woodlands, followed by his mate.
“I’m sorry about that, Pansy, Tipper never does listen.” He said.
“It’s perfectly fine, Fringol. The only thing you need to explain to me is why you’re a season late in coming to visit me,” the hedgehog said.
“I am not a season late! Not even half a season! You can just ask Shana if you want proof,” Fringol responded.
Pansy promptly took his advice, “Do you think you’re a season late in coming to visit?”
“I think more like three,” the squirrel said, laughing at the indignant look on her mate’s face.
Fringol walked off in a huff to find out what Tipper was doing.
As he came around the back of the cottage, he heard voices saying, “I’m Fauna, Mister Drumple, and this is Tipper.”
He rounded the corner of the cottage to see his daughter talking to a mole who was setting out a tray of scones to cool.
“‘Ello, Zur Fringol. Oi wuz just introducing moiself to Fona and Tipper. ‘Ow are you?” The mole said when he saw him.
“Quite fine, actually,” Fringol responded, “and how are you?”
“Oi’m in gurt condition, an’ appy as can be.” Drumple said to him.
“Good,” Fringol said, attempting to snitch a scone.
Drumple spied his paw straying towards the tray and reprimanded him, “You gurt naughty vilyun, youm bein’ as bad as Fickle, the gurt thiever.”
The young beasts laughed at the sight of their father being scolded, and each took a scone for themselves, running away before Drumple could lecture them too.
When they came around front, Tipper asked, “Who bees Fikler?”
“Fickle is a hare who joined us at Greenhollow many seasons ago. Sometime we’ll take you to meet him, that is, unless he comes of his own accord for more scones,” Shana told him.
Pansy giggled a little, “I think that’s him right now.”
They watched as a hare in a bright red and purple suit came galloping up to them.
“Ahem,” he said, “Where are the jolly scones, wot wot?”
“We’ll tell you if you tell us a story, Mistah Fickler,” Tipper said.
Fickle picked him up. “And what have we here?” he said, “a bally blinkin’ squirrel babe, wot. And looks just like his blinkin’ pater to. By the way, where is that rascal?” he said.
“Back with the scones getting lectured by Drumple,” Fauna giggled.
Fickle sped around the house in search of more scones, as usual.
Later that evening, when everybeast was tired, Drumple said, “You have to tell us a story now, Mistah Fickle. We told you where da scones were.”
“Okay, I’ll tell you a story old chap.” Fickle consented.
“Tell us how you met our father.” Fauna begged.
“Okay, I’ll tell you how I met your jolly old pater. Well, here goes. Once a jolly well blinkin’ time ago, before you were born...”
Fringol stepped out of the dwelling that had been his home for the last ten seasons. So many questions raced through his mind that he felt dizzy. Why had they killed his mother? What had they done with his sister? He didn’t understand what had happened.
The young squirrel slowly walked down the path with no notion of where he was going and when, if ever, he would come back.
Suddenly a large rat jumped out on the path in front of him. He turned to run, but found that he was surrounded. He stood frozen in fear as the rats closed in on him. Then he yelled, “Get away from me!”
"Struggling is useless, you have no chance," a voice said in his ear.
Fringol spun around to find himself face to face with a weasel in a long cloak.
"Just give up and we won't punish you... as much." The weasel grinned wickedly.
Fringol threw himself bodily at the weasel.
"Let me go! Greenwood is free to everybeast! You have no right to take me captive!"
A spearbutt knocked the back of his head and everything went black.
“I wonder what his bally name is.”
“I wish he’d wake up.”
“Shh. I Think he’s coming round. Everybeast be quiet!”
“I don’t want to be jolly well quiet. I’ll talk when I want to.”
“Will somebeast strangle him for me?”
Fringol groaned and opened his eyes. His head ached terribly and everything was going in and out of focus.
“Where am I? What happened?” He moaned.
“Shh. Don’t speak to loud or they’ll here. Mordang’s vermin have got you. Don’t feel you head, it’ll just make it worse.” A small mouse with strange pure white fur came into focus. “My name’s Riverwyte, what’s yours?”
“My name’s Fringol. What happened to me?”
“I don’t know exactly. They said something about you struggling, so they knocked you out.” Riverwyte said.
“Got your noggin’ knocked pretty badly, wot.” Two large ears filled Fringol’s vision.
“What are you?” he asked.
“I’m a flippin’ hare. Haven’t you seen a bally hare before? Don’t you dare call me a rabbit.”
“I wasn’t planning to call you a rabbit.” Fringol said.
“Oh, calm down Fickle. Lot’s of creatures haven’t seen a hare before. Only yesterday a squirrel came in who said she had never seen a hare before.” River said.
Fringol sat bolt upright, “Who is she?” He asked.
“She said her name is Nutmeg.” River told him.
“Nutmeg! She’s my little sister. Where is she?”
“Just down ee chainer boi Oi.” A voice called from down the chain where a mole was shackled to it.
“Drumple.” Fringol groaned, “Don’t tell me they got Westa too.”
“Nope, they didn’t, but they got everyone else.” A sleek figure slid from between the trees. “There’s some watercress a little way from here,” She handed out the food, “I’ll go get some more.”
The captives munched away gratefully, not knowing that they were being watched.
Mordang was in a dangerous mood.
“One squirrel, one single squirrel is all you got?” He yelled, “Pitiful, one squirrel.” He spat on the ground.
“One more day like that and you’ll be going with the hedgehog to feed Sildafass. Then you won’t bring in a single creature a day, you’ll bring in none!” He screamed at the rat who was sent to report to him. He called for his helper, Sparknose.
“Sparknose, tell this rat what will happen to him if he does this again.”
Sparknose was a wicked looking weasel with an eyepatch and scars running down his nose. Some creatures said that he was struck by lightning, but nobeast was sure. What they were sure about was that if he told them he would do something, he would do it.
He approached the terror stricken rat, his one eye glimmering in anticipation.
“We’ll feed you to Sildafass sure enough, but first we’ll make sure he can smell your blood and find you. We’ll do it until you scream for death, won’t we, Dribblefang?”
The small rat beside him nodded, spraying drool everywhere “So, next time bring in five captives or else!” He spat the last word in the rats face before turning to face Mordang.
“My lord, there have been reports of a squirrel who fights back,what would you like us to do with him, sire?”
“If he is young enough to fight back, then he is young enough to work. We must tame him. Put him at the front of the running chain,do not feed him, give him only enough water to keep him alive. Whip him regularly.”
“Your highness, I will have the your forces carry out your order immediately.” He bowed and walked out of the tent, followed by Dribblefang.
“Rise an’ shine, dozypaws, it’s time for your morning stroll.”
Searing pain coursed through Fringol as the whip cracked down on his already raw back.
He jerked upright and charged at the ferret with the whip, waking River and Fickle in the process. The whip cracked down on his shoulders again, and Fringol doubled over in pain.
Riverwyte glared at the ferret, “don’t touch him again.”
The ferret grinned slyly at her. “Oh, I might not touch him, but I will touch you, missy.”
Fringol saw River brace herself for the pain. He never knew how he did it, but he caught the whip inches above her shoulers. Then he threw himself at the ferret.
The other slaves, who were all awake by then, stared at him.
Disentangling himself from Fringol, the ferret gave the order.
“Okay, march!” he snarled, looking at Fringol.
The crack of the whip sounded far off into the distance as the weary captives march again.
Shana Longleaf leaped away from her away from her perch in the highest branches of a sycamore.
She could barely believe what she had just witnessed.
What creature could catch a whip? Nobeasts reflexes were that fast.
She leaped from branch to branch, barely noticing where she was going until she landed awry and slipped.
She finally caught a branch inches above Fringol’s head.
Fringol looked up and she smiled guiltily. The whip cracked down on his back for stopping.
Then the ferret noticed her. He edged closer to her, cooing in a singsong voice, “Come ‘ere me pretty.”
She waited until he was almost upon her, then she sprang up saying, “Not until you take a bath and clean your clothes.”
With that, she sprang off into the distance, listening to the captives laughter in the distance
“You mean you saw a squirrel catch a whip that was inches above a mouse’s back and then fell out of a tree?”
Shana blushed and nodded. “I’ve been watching these creatures for almost a week now, ever since they brought that squirrel in. They seem to have chained all the ones that struggled together, and those creatures don’t give up, they’re all attached to the leading chain.”
“That should be useful if we’re going to rescue them, no creature would let themselves be rescued and then just settle down without helping the others that haven’t been rescued,” Rowanpaw, the local badger said.
“And who says we’re going to rescue them?” a shrew snapped.
“I do,” Rowanpaw told him, “now here’s my plan...”
Westa could barely see a thing, let alone find her friends. And now she had gotten herself in a huge predicament.
She was stuck in a tree.
“I never shoulda tried this,” she muttered to herself.
“Shoulda tried what?” a voice asked in her ear.
“To climb a tree,” she said, forgetting that a moment ago she had been alone.
The voice giggled, “Hahaha, and otter in a tree! Hahaha!”
“It’s not funny,” she growled, spinning around.
The voice belonged to the squirrel that had nearly fallen on top of Fringol.
“Oh, yes it is.” The squirrel giggled.
“Hmph. I doubt I’m goin’ t’get any help from this squirrel,” she muttered, turning her back.
“Don’t be so sure, I can get you help,” the squirrel said, “My name’s Shana, what’s your’s?”
“My name’s Westa, now get me down from here!”
“Okay, calm down,” the squirrel said, then she called to two other squirrels, “Hey you two, yeah you two, come an’ help me get this otter down!”
“Thanks. Tell me if you see my friends,” Westa called to Shana as the squirrels helped her down.
“I will, I think I’m supposed to be rescuing them,” the squirrel called. Then she was gone.
Fringol tried not to think about his aching back while River bound his paw. He had been a captive for two weeks now, and doubted he could stand it much longer. The only food he had eaten since he became captive was what Westa brought, and that was barely enough to keep him alive. All his days had been filled with relentless running, and all the water he had was a small drink a day.
“Why are they torturing me?” he thought aloud.
“Because you struggled more than any of us. I don’t doubt you would have run up a tree if there had been any nearby,” River told him, “I still can’t believe you caught that whip, Fringol. Why did you do it?” she asked.
“Do you really think I’d let the only creature who can bind and sooth a whip slash get whipped?” He asked her.
“Well, I guess not,” she sighed wistfully, “I wish none of us had been captured, that we were all free to do as we please. Then we wouldn’t have any troubles. My mothers probably worried sick about me. At least she has my little brother.”
“I wish we were all free to do as we please, too,” Fringol murmured drowsily.
“Tut tut, it isn’t often that wishes come true, is it?” Fringol stared as the squirrel that had landed inches above Fringol’s head only a few days past.
“Did you know that staring is rude?” she chided, “you really shouldn’t stare. Why is your mouth hanging open?”
River closed her mouth slowly, contemplating what she had just seen.
“W-why are you here?” she stammered.
“We’re here to rescue you. Oh, and by the way, I’m not the only one.”
They turned to look at where other squirrels were already trying to figure out the locks on the chains.
“Come on you guys,” Shana groaned, “last time one of you tried to pick a lock by yourself it jammed. Let me see them.”
Shana took the chain around Fringol’s footpaws in her paws and examined it carefully.
“Ah, nice’n’simple,” she said to herself, and began working away.
Willowthorn was exhausted. The young mouse and some other Greenhollow residents had been laying siege on the camp almost all night now, and the squirrels weren’t done yet.
“When will Rowanpaw get here to relieve us of duty?” she wondered aloud.
Her twin brother Fallowthorn answered, “Soon, wait! That’s him right now!”
As Willow peeped out from underneath the foliage where she was hiding to watch Rowanpaw charge into the back of the camp, an arrow grazed the top of her shoulder.
She fell backwards with a shriek.
“Are you alright?” Fallow asked anxiously.
“I think I’m fine,” Willow groaned as she felt her shoulder.
Fallow helped her up, “Here, I’ll take you back home an’ Mother’ll bandage it.”
Willow and Fallow walked back towards Greenhollow, followed by the many other creatures relieved of duty by Rowanpaw.
Shana was exhausted.
If only the other squirrels could pick locks, she thought wearily.
She had finally finished with the slaves chains and had sent all of the other squirrels on their way back to the village.
“Are you sure you can make it all the way back?”
She was jolted back to reality by the last squirrel.
“Yes, I’ll make it you go ahead,” She sighed.
Then she turned towards Fringol.
“You go ahead up that sycamore,” She told him, “I’ll be right behind you.”
Fringol bolted up the sycamore.
When he got to the top, he realized that Shana wasn’t right behind him.
He looked down and saw three rats closing in on her.
With the speed of desperation, Fringol scrambled down the trunk and grabbed her, pulling her up into the tree with him.
“Which way to Greenhollow?” He asked.
Shana pointed weakly, than fainted.
Fringol bounded off in that direction with the unconscious squirrel on his back.
“You let a whole chain of captives get away?!” Mordang roared in the face of the happless ferret, Captain Scrogg.
“Y-your mightiness, we was f-f-fightin’ th’ attackers like y’ t-told us to.” The ferret whimpered.
“And you let the slaves get away! Did it not occur to you to set guards for them, blithering fool!” The fox spat.
“N-n-no, G-great one, I d-didn’t think to.” Scrogg screeched in pain as Mordang’s claws sank into his shoulder.
“You will find them and bring them back here whatever the cost, they cannot get away!” Mordang spat in his face.
The ferret paused.
“NOW!” Mordang screamed in his face.
The Scrogg scurried out of the tent to gather his crew to take in pursuit of the escapers.