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Part One: The Isle of Petratis
The otter clan of Lunach MacTide waited in the shallows as the looming hull of the pirate ship Raider came into view through the thick fog. A lone pine marten stood at the prow, cutlass in paw. An evil laugh erupted from its ugly mouth. "So, Lunach, yer thought y' could thwart ther Golden One, did ye? There's a price to be payed for ev'rythin', ye know...Chaaarge!!!" Forty pirates poured down the side of Raider, and a furious battle began as the twenty last otters of the clan gave their last attempt for freedom, yelling their last war cry as they clashed with the surging ranks of savagely howling vermin pirates: "MacTiiide! For freedooooom! Fiiight!!!"
Petratis. Ruled by the evil golden fox, Silvaza the Golden, the once 'treasure of the sea' was held in her vise-like grip.
- The golden vixen now sat watching her crews of searats and corsairs as they scurried about, heaving wooden stakes and supplies to their places in the protection wall they were building around her stronghold of Fort Medwark.
- Two searats, by the names of Ruppil and Gruffix, were carrying a long stake between them to its desired position in the wall when Ruppil stumbled, causing his partner to drop his end on his own footpaw. Gruffix leapt a foot into the air, howling, "Me footpaw! It's broken in an 'undred places!"
- "No 'tisn't," said Ruppil. "So shurrup, y' big fussin'- Owow! Wot did yer do that fer? Now my paw's broken!"
- Dennarv, Silvaza's second-in-command, raised his coiled whip as if to strike Ruppil again. "Let me ketch yer idlin' agin an' I'll lay onter yer! Now, git back ter work an' no more nonsense, d'ye 'ear me?"
- "Yarr, Cap'n, sir!" replied the pair, getting on with their work, driven only by their fear of the huge pine marten Captain.
- Silvaza awoke the next morning in high spirits. She turned to Vezan, her door guard and personal aide.
- "Bring Dennarv here, I need to speak with him."
- The swift ferret was back in less than three minutes, the marten not far behind her. At last Dennarv caught up. Silvaza pushed back the silken curtain that covered the entrance to her chamber, admitting her marten captain.
- "You called fer me, Golden One?" asked Dennarv.
- "Aye, I've somethin' to tell ye," replied Silvaza, "As ye already know, Scagla an' the Seascale will be here soon."
- "Aye, Golden One, according to yer spies' reports. Wot d'yer want me t' do?"
- "What I want ye to do is take fifty of my pikesrats to the area around the docks an' be ready to give 'im a greetin' when he gets 'ere." said Silvaza. "Ye know what I'm talkin' 'bout."
- "It shall be done, Golden One!" said Dennarv, bowing low.
- Silvaza smiled as Dennarv exited. Scagla was a shrewd beast, but not as shrewd as her! When he left her marooned on a rock outcrop in the middle of the Western Sea, there had been something he hadn't bargained for; Silvaza's wit. She had escaped the island, and built herself an empire. Much of her work was fueled by hatred of the pirate captain. Now all she needed to do was sit back and watch Scagla's fate, reassured of what it would be.
- Far to the north, in the remains of a wind-lashed tent near the site of the now non-existent Holt Lunach, two young otters crouched around a dwindling fire. A chilling breeze swept through their shredded tent as sleet came hammering onto the miserable beasts.
- The male, battle-scarred from rudder to eartips, wore a once-white shirt and a long kilt, and held a chipped broadsword in paw.
- The female, no less scarred than her brother, wore a torn brown vest over her sinewy features and had a green sash with a kilt below it.
- A jagged cut etched across the male's right eyebrow, clearly visible on his rough face. scenes of the previous night flashed on their memories: Their father's argument with the Fierlan family, the squirrels' departure on the ship Nightsea, and then it had happened, right after the Fierlans' leaving, the looming hull of a ship in the fog, a cackling marten at the prow... The battle. The battle in which the otters' entire holt had been killed... Except for them. The fire seemed to become a part of them as countless hours went by; a part of them called vengeance.
It was a beautiful day at Redwall Abbey. The spring had been good to them, and it was most probable that summer would be the same. Today was a special day for all at Redwall: the Summer Festival. Everybeast seemed to be doing something in preparation: baking cakes, pies, scones, tarts, flans and trifles in the kitchens; rolling out barrels of strawberry and raspberry fizz, blueberry plum cordial delight for the abbeybabes, and plenty of October Ale from the Cellars; fishing in the pond... the list went on and on. Abbot Armanus sat on the western wallsteps, enjoying the day. Just then, Sister Laelia, Redwall's Recorder, joined him on the steps.
- "Young Tilden seems to be learning Recording very quickly, Father Abbot, so I was thinking of letting him record this season's Games Festival. What do you think, Father?"
- "How thoughtful, Sister! I have one question, though. Do you mean it to be kept a secret?" asked Armanus.
- "I know we're not supposed to keep secrets, Father, and I may sound like a Dibbun, but what harm could it bring?"
- Armanus thought a moment, then said, "I suppose so, Sister. And I may sound like a Dibbun by saying this," added Armanus with a giggle not unlike the Abbeybabes commonly referred to as "Dibbuns" at Redwall, "but we'll both be dibbuns, then, eh."
- "Thank you, Father!" said Laelia to the kindly old mouse, as she jumped up and disappeared around the main building of Redwall, running at a hop-skip.
- Maybe I am acting like a dibbun, thought Armanus, rising and slowly walking into Great Hall, pausing to look up at the Tapestry depicting Martin the Warrior, the ancient hero of times past. "You wouldn't mind, would you Martin?" he said aloud, then saw the stern eyes looking almost disapprovingly at him and said, "Or maybe you would. Never mind, I will protect your beloved Abbey as long as I live." I hope, thought Armanus as he ascended the stairs leading to his room.
- He paused again for a moment before going into his room, then shut the door behind him.
- The day of the Festival came upon them like a thief in the night. By evening they all were nearly winded after a long day of fun and games.
- Now came the time for the evening feast.
Captain Gallent Ffolger, great-great-great-grandnephew of the famous Pikkle Ffolger, took the Abbot and Mother Aurelian, the badger Matriarch of Redwall aside.
- "I've got a message from 'is Lordship Sallanvo for ye, Father H'Abbot, sah," he said urgently.
- "What is it?" asked Armanus.
- "A ship, all broken up, washed up on the shore, 'bout an 'undred spearslengths from th' mountain, 'round a week ago, 'twas, sah. Me an' m' patrol found it, an' 'eard a growlin' amidships, or what was left of 'em. So, we checked inside an', of all things, found a bloomin' squirrelchap inside, big 'un, too. And by th' blinkin' look o' 'im, 'arf dead! We took 'im to th' mountain an', soon as we gets our bally paws h'inside, 'is Lordship asked us t' bring a message t' Redwall, fast as our bally paws could carry us, sah, wot. 'Ere's h'exactly wot 'is Lordship tol' us..." began the Captain, the two Redwallers listening intently.
- Murrin and Glanow, two hares positioned on the top of Salamandastron for the Night Watch, looked out into the cold night sky. The night was clear, and there were no signs of any foebeasts lurking about.
- Suddenly there was a muffled cry as the two fell to the rocky floor of the great mountain crater, unconscious.
- "Ach, foolish rabbets, tryin' tae stop me from avengin' mah fam'ly an' Lunach's!" said a burly male squirrel, stepping gracefully over the two. "They'll wake up too late tae stop Biklay Fierlan!" The huge squirrel, a hefty javelin in paw, stole over the rim of the mountain and scaled the rocky sides to the bottom, where he disappeared along the beach in a northwestern direction, heading on up the wave-washed shoreline and into the blinding night, shouting, "The Great Sea cannae stop Biklay Fierlan, Golden One! Ah 'm a-comin' fer thee, mark mah words, Ah'm comin'!"
- Silvaza had been correct in thinking Scagla would strike in three days' time.
- She found this to be so when Barenza, captain of one of her ships named Shadowsail, went missing.
- The next night, two other captains of hers died mysterious deaths.
- This was enough for her.
- After the losses of three captains, she decided she'd strike Scagla back.
- She summoned the rat Argul and the stoat Raganza to her chambers. "Garva, Barenza and Nookat 'ave all been slain.
- "Muster a score of those idiots who try to call themselves my 'troops' and board the Seascale. Watch out for th' Shadowsail, 'tis full of Scagla's rabble. We strike them tonight!"
- Argul and Raganza stood motionless for a minute. "Well, get on with it!" yelled Silvaza; the two rapped their spears on the floor in a hasty salute and scampered off to the barracks, waking the beasts that were inside. "Shift yer skins, yew snorin' landlubbers, an' get out 'ere! Der fight's tonight!"
- "Good timin', eh, yew!" said Gruffix, "Right when we were gettin' some sleep!"
- "Yer right there, Gruffix, mate," said Ruppil, having forgotten the incident earlier in the week. "I wuz right in der middle o' a right fancy dream! But at least we git ter be a part o' d' fightin', eh, Gruffix?"
- "Y're completely right there, Ruppil!" said Gruffix, though slightly uneasy.
- "Yarr, shuddup an' git a move on, yew two!" said Argul, buffeting Gruffix with his spearbutt. "Cap'n Dennarv an' d' Gold'n One'll be right pleased wid yew lot if ye'd git goin' an' take those ships! If not, I'll report yer!"
- "Yah, who does 'e think 'e is, d' Golden One 'erself?" muttered Gruffix bad-temperedly after being the recipient of a spearbutt to the ribs. One stare from Raganza had him rushing to be first outside the long-house barracks.
- Groups of half-asleep pirates and corsairs dwindled out of their bunks, grabbing up weapons as they came slowly and fitfully awake.
- The great timber gates groaned and creaked as they swung open to let the waiting vermin out.
- Hordes of vermin poured swiftly into the dark shore of the bay, then slipped into the cool waters and began swimming for the Shadowsail, as to take it back from Scagla's thieving pirates and corsairs. Suddenly a rat sentry, posted by Dezka the fox, Scagla's First Mate, gave a cry when he spotted the water-bound beasts that were making a beeline for Shadowsail. "All paws t' starb'rd, I see sumpthin'!"
- Dezka appeared at the rail.
- "Yarra, wot doz we haz 'ere, mates?" he asked. Turning to Zunig the lookout, Dezka yelled, "Git the sign'l flag, I needs t' noterify Scagla o' our uninvited guests!" A rustle of knives, scimitars, axes and other assorted weapons could be heard amongst the Shadowsail's crew as they prepared themselves for battle.
- With a sudden roar, Argul's platoon of vermin swung up onto the deck of Shadowsail, armed to the teeth.
- With a mighty clash of sword on shield the fight began. Meanwhile, unseen for the moment, Seascale rounded an outcropping of rocks and made headway for Shadowsail, its own arsenal of pirates and searats fully prepared for battle!
- Silvaza had been waiting all night for news of the battle, sharpening her slim, lethal scimitar on a whetstone.
- At last Vezan pushed aside the curtain, bowing as she entered the quarters of her Queen. "Golden One, Argul is back and wishes to tell ye what 'appened."
- "Good!" said Silvaza, "I was beginning to think that he and Raganza had lost! Let him in, Vezan!"
- To save his own skin, Argul sent in Nurruk and Grunga to tell of the defeat while he and Ruppil, the only other survivors of the conflict, sat in the corridor. Silvaza's angry shouts were easy to hear as the two unlucky vermin related what had taken place. Ruppil sat beside Argul, weeping piteously. "Gruffix, Gruffix! Why couldn't it 'ave been me 'stead o' yew? Gruf-"
- "Shuddup, an' be 'appy yer don't 'ave t' report ter ol' Goldenback!" said Argul, giving him a savage kick.
- Ruppil straightened up.
The dead bodies of Nurruk and Grunga were hauled into the corridor and thrown into a crumpled heap on the stony floor.
- Vezan turned to Argul.
- "Her Magesty, Silvaza wishes your presence, rat." she said coldly. "And ye," said the ferret to Ruppil, "can git back to your barracks, ye miserable wretch."
- Ruppil bowed quickly with a sob and dashed off to the barracks, where the last one hundred beasts of Silvaza's horde huddled together, murmuring unhappily amongst themselves.
Abbot Armanus waited until the morning after the Festival to relate what Gallent Ffolger had told him and Mother Aurelian to a crowd of expectant Redwallers. Once they were all situated in their various places in Cavern Hole, the Abbot took the floor. "It seems there will soon be an uprising of searats and corsairs, from reports gathered by the mountain hares. One thing is certainly a mystery," he said after he was finished telling them of the message. "Who goes to Salamandastron."
- "Go to Salamandastron? Why would we go there?" asked Brother Glenfall.
- Armanus sighed. "I don't know. It was, I don't know- a premonition I had last night. Salamandastron has no healers. They will need them if they are to wage war with seavermin. They also need reliable creatures, ones who can fight. I do not urge anyone to go, but those who will have my blessing."
- Suddenly a radiant, glowing apparition appeared in front of the entire assembly in Cavern Hole.
- "Martin!" everybeast gasped.
The figure spoke softly as it drifted gracefully to the centre of the room, "The one you seek is not in the mount, but in another place. Heed my words, young squirrel, young bookmouse, the one you seek lies over the sea. Go now, and find the hare who wields the mace, he will assist you in your case!" As soon as he had come, Martin vanished. After everybeast had finished chattering excitedly and once the hubbub had died down a bit, Gallent Ffolger stood up. "Th' one who wields the mace!" exclaimed the hare Captain. "That sounds like Ol' Battlerun Fleetfoot t' me!"
- "Who is this Battlerun you speak of, Captain? Tell us more," said Armanus. "Have I missed something?"
Gallent answered him with a grin. "Why, Battlerun Fleetfoot is the strongest 'are t'evah live! Lives solitary, though, quit th' Long Patrol after an argument with 'is Lordship, donchaknow."
- "Does he happen to wield a mace?" asked Mother Aurelian, slowly catching onto what the young hare was saying.
- "He was the only one that ever did, from my recollections. Not anymore- gave up on bein' a jolly fighter when 'e was- discharged from the service. Still 'as th' thing, though, hangin' on 'is wall.
- "'E's gotten rather irritable an' grouchy, wot with 'is livin' alone an' all. Th' poor chap's wife, Margeria died a few seasons back, an' the poor blighter as never really recovered from it. Pretends she's still alive, though,'e does. He won't fight though...unless ye went an' talked with 'im, Marm - 'E might act sensible an' 'elp us on our bally old quest if he met with a badger, wot wot?"
- "You, Firry, 'tis obvious Martin was talking about you when he mentioned a young squirrelmaid," said Aurelian. "You're the only one in Redwall! Come on, Tilden, you're the Recordermouse. I'll go as far as this Battlerun's home to negotiate. Oh, and, Tilden. You'll need something."
- "What?" asked the young mouse as Aurelian went to the mantle in Cavern Hole.
- "The Sword, of course," said the badger Mother as she took it down and gave it to Tilden.
- "I'm no warrior, I could never- " protested the Recorder.
- "Yes, you can. Hold this sword for the protection of others and, when your journey is finished, let it make its way back to Redwall, with you holding it. Now," Aurelian, turning to Gallent Ffolger, "we can go."
- "H'alright then!" shouted Gallent. "Regiment hares... Prepare t'move ooout!"
- "Wait!" cried Sister Velenne. "You're not leaving without good food for the journey! Brother Blisian, Sister Rantilla! Bring some rations for these troops! Friar Brefon, Sister Cottula and Brother Seast, more kingcup cream! Brother Blizan, what have you got?"
- "Fruit for salad, Sister!" The Brother called out an explanation as he raced down the stairs to Cavern Hole, heavily laden with apples, greengage plums and peaches, strawberries and pears. "Hey in there! Here's some fresh frui- Oops!" The fat little vole Brother tripped on the bottom stair and went slippy-sailing through Cavern Hole on an overripe peach. "Yaaaaaaaaaah...!"
Whumpsplat! Brother Blisian fell face-first into the now-ruined collection fruit he had gathered. Sister Laelia stood over him, chuckling with mirth. She put a paw to her face and shook her head in feigned despair. "Tut tut tut, Brother Blisian, a full six trees worth of good fruit, wasted," she said whilst trying to suppress her laughter.
- "Wot's all this?" asked Gallent Ffolger, sidling up to them. "Fruit!"
Laelia burst out laughing, unable to keep her mirth in check at last. Gallent looked at her sternly. "Wot's the laffin' about, Sister, may I ask? Scoff's far too buffin' precious to be chucklin' an' gigglin' about. Hmph!"
Later that evening, the Patrol, accompanied by Tilden and Firry and well laden-down with supplies, exited quietly through the main gate and headed southwest down the path. Abbot Armanus stood on the walltop with Sister Laelia and watched them go.
- "Keep well, Tilden, and you too, Firry! Bye!" called Laelia after the rapidly disappearing column.
- "Bye, and remember to bring
Goodbyes were heard as the group left Redwall, adventure on all of their minds.
- The next morning on Petratis was certainly a hot one. Only a small, faint breeze hung in the still air. Out in the bay, the pirates of Scagla stood on the wooden deck of Seascale, watching her sails as they flapped gently, catching what little wind there was. Scagla, at long last opened his cabin door, stepping out onto the deck with a clunk of his seaboots.
- "Silvaza der Trickster's 'it us one time too many!" he addressed his crew. "'Tis time we struck back!"
- "Aye, Cap'n, let's fight dat gol' fosker an' give 'er wot she deserves!" shouted Culgar, one of the more ambitious searats in Scagla's hire.
- "Dere's der spirit, Culgy, ol' mate!" said Scagla, giving Culgar a hearty slap on the back that nearly knocked the searat over.
- "T'ankyer, Cap'n!" said the rat, joining the others that stood before the pirate ferret.
- "Dezka, I wants yer t' stay 'ere whilst me an' 'arf o' our beasts are a-fightin'," said Scagla to the bright red fox, who saluted him. "Yarr, Cap'n!" said Dezka, turning and retiring to his cabin aboard the Shadowsail. He watched through a window as Seascale and one hundred pirates sailed inland. The pawn-play was over- the checkmate had begun!
- Biklay Fierlan stood at the helm of his small ship, titled Vengeance, built from some timber out of the side of his father's wrecked vessel, as it plowed through the waves toward the isle of Petratis. He brought out his haversack and took a pawful of mixed hazel, beech and chestnuts. Suddenly, right behind Vengeance was a large sail. Another ship! He brought the Vengeance closer for a view of the ship that was now coming alongside his own. The sail held an emblem on it; a javelin crossed over an arrow in an "X", the sign of Lunach MacTide!
- "Och there, friend or foe?" he asked. The head of a lithe otter popped over the rail.
- "Biklay Fierlan, ye rogue, is it really ye? O' course ye know's we're foes if'n ye 'aves vittles aboard!" it said.
- "Royce MacTide, I'd know thy voice anywhere! Where's yore sister?"
- "Right 'ere," said another sinewy beast, standing up fully beside her brother, "Och, so ye left us be'ind, eh, Bik, thinkin' ye were dead! Ye ought tae be ashamed o' yoreself, appearin' an' disappearin' like that!"
- "Och, weel, cummon aboard an' feast aplenty, friends!" said Biklay, inviting them aboard Vengeance.
- With the otter's craft tied to the stern, Vengeance sailed off toward Petratis, where a golden fox was having enough troubles of her own...big troubles.
- "When do we stop fah bally luncheon, marm?" asked Captain Gallent Ffolger of the badger matriarch of Redwall.
- "We go on until we find this Battlerun, Captain, so stop asking!" she answered, holding the six haversacks away from the hare's reach. Suddenly Fairdale and Windlope, two Runners of the regiment, came dashing back to the main marching body.
- "Then we c'n jolly well stop now marm- we've found 'im!"
- Mother Aurelian followed Windlope's gesture, stopping at a glade. A tough-looking hare with a sturdy mace over his shoulder looked warily at the Captain.
- "Wot d'ye want o' me, Long Patrol?" he asked.
- "Come over here, we'll sort it out," said Mother Aurelian taking him aside and relating all. When the two came out from where they had been whispering, Battlerun Glintblade Fleetfoot was a different creature. Negotiably he said, "Certainly, o' course I'll go! I've not 'ad a bally h'adventure in at least four seasons, wot! Cummon, Marge - y'll keep th' bally h'ranks waitin', donchaknow!"
- With that, the column strode out onto the path, and headed southwards.
- To Salamandastron!
The rat Glazza woke Silvaza in the middle of the night.
- "The pirates of Scagla are marching on us, Golden One!" she shouted hyserically into the fox's ear. "What shall I do?"
- "Round up my pike and spearsrats to defend the walls if they have to," shouted Silvaza, "and take the rest of those restless beasts of mine outside to fight! Scagla will be so overwhelmed he can barely fight back. Run now, all of Fort Medwark depends on ye, rat!"
Silvaza waited until the female rat was gone before calling Vezan.
- "Vezan," she said, "get in here!"
- In a moment the ferret was inside. "Yes, Golden One?" she asked.
- "You take a secret force and take those ships," said Silvaza. "That way, we'll control Scagla's only way off Petratis: the sea! If this works, within the hour, that pirate will be on his knees, begging for a quick and painless end!"
- "But he won't get it, heehee!" laughed Vezan like a babe at play. "Yes, Golden One, that will be so, within the hour!"
- The ferret Vezan snuck out the east wallgate, the only other way into Fort Medwark besides the Main Gate, which lay to the west. With her were a dozen paw-picked vermin, draped in dark cloaks for better invisibility in the pitch-black night. They all carried small, light scimitars, which they all were specially trained in using. They slipped into a small dinghy and began silently rowing toward the Seascale, which had its stern to them. In minutes they were aboard the three-masted galleon, scimitars drawn. The sentries posted on Seascale were first to go.
- With little effort they took the Seascale, which had only had five sentries to guard it in the first place.
- The rat sentry on Shadowsail espied them too late, only having time for a high-pitched scream before a scimitar slipped across his scrawny neck.
- The scream was enough, though, and soon Scagla came running towards the bay with the remnant of his former attack force following close behind, pounding sand with their paws as they fled for the ships. He had lost. Vezan saw that to fight the crew of Shadowsail was hopeless, so she and her remaining nine vermin returned to Seascale in the dinghy whilst the pirates of the Shadowsail stood gawking at Scagla's frantic band onshore.
- "Back!" screamed Scagla. "Back to d' Shaddersail, mates! Run fer yer skins!"
- Suddenly the rat Culgar blocked his path to the Shadowsail, which was sailing out of the shallows. "Sorry 'bout dis, Cap'n, but I gotta do wot I've been paid to do," said Culgar, unsheathing his cutlass.
- Aboard Shadowsail, Dezka was being overwhelmed by hordes of Scagla's desparate crewbeasts, trying to get aboard the vessel and escape Silvaza's wrath. Finally, Shadowsail could hold no more vermin.
Culgred came running into the shallows, grabbing hold of Shadowsail's anchor rope.
- When he reached the top, however, Dezka pushed him off, saying, "No room fer traiters 'board der Shadder, Culgy, sorry. Mate!"
- Culgy fell into the shallows, giving up hope as an arrow took him.
- Vezan entered Silvaza's chamber to relate to her queen the good news.
- "My queen, Scagla is dead!" proclaimed the ferret enthusiastically.
- "What about Dezka?" asked Silvaza, a hint of exasperation on her voice.
- "He willn't get far with Shadowsail, answered Vezan. "Dennarv and a full crew are ready to give chase in Raider at your command, O Queen. Shall I give the word, Golden One?"
- "Yes, do so immediately," answered Silvaza, taking a sip of wine.
- "Thus will be done, O Queen!"
- In less than an hour, Dennarv and and a full shipload of vermin were setting sail for open sea, Silvaza's banners fluttering gaily in the wind, leaving the mysterious isle with its golden beaches and palm trees far in their wake.
- About an hour later, aboard Shadowsail, Dezka and his motley crew fought to put on every scrap of cloth they could for more speed.
- Many were using their weapons as oars and throwing supplies and wood overboard to make the galleon lighter in the blue-green waters all 'round her.
- Suddenly Rilk the lookout cried, "D' Raider! Not forty fathoms to der west an' bearin' straight fer us!"
- "Ahoy dere, all paws on deck!" yelled Dezka, practically screaming. "I wants ev'ry scrap o' sail an' canvas we got up on those riggin's! Pikes an' boat'ooks at der ready in case dey catches up wid us! Are ya gonna fight, or are ya all a pack o' whingein' babes?"
- "Yarr, Cap'n Dezka!" replied his desparate crew, unfurling the sails to their full length.
- "Dey're gainin'!" screamed Rilk from his position the crow's nest.
- "Boat'ooks an' pikes...Out!" bellowed Dezka. Sixty-odd of the weapons poked out of the sides of Shadowsail, just as Raider sidled in next to Shadowsail.
Dezka threw his battleaxe at the head of a Searat that was leaping across the small gap between Raider and Shadowsail, scoring a perfect hit that cracked its skull right down the middle with a Crack!. Dennarv, with his first-mate, Glazza, close behind, cleared the gap with a thud of boots on the opposite deck. Suddenly he gave a sigh and fell dead to the deck of Shadowsail, Glazza's dagger sticking out of his back. Glazza looked around to see if any of Dennarv's crew had seen her heinous act.
- Razla the fox saw her and came over to her.
- "I knowed yew were a traiter from der very start, Glaz - Uhn!" he said, falling beside Dennarv's still form. "Dat should take care o' yew, loudmouth," muttered Glazza, wiping off her dagger before slipping it into her belt. She looked up, surveying what had happened.
- Suddenly a knife was over her throat. "Stay right where youse are, liddle traitor," said a voice, "we don't want yer t' git 'urt!"
- An hour or so later, Glazza and the last twelve crew of Raider sat, bound on the deck of Shadowsail.
- "So," asked Dezka evilly, "should I slay ya right 'ere or are ya gointa co-operate wid me? Wid youse on my side o' t'ings, we could infiltrate Fort Medwark! Well?"
- When death was the only alternative, Glazza could do without it. Besides, what aleigance did she have to Silvaza, anyways? She decided she would play along until Dezka started turning against her. Then she could get rid of him anyways, when the time came. She spoke for all of the twelve: "We're yers to command, Lord Dezka!"
- Dezka smiled.
- Silvaza would pay for the theft of Seascale and the murders of over one hundred beasts. She would pay in steel and blood.
The column stopped for breakfast the next day near a pine grove, just as a light drizzle started up. They ate on the march until they reached the tall pines, where they built a few fires and hunkered down for the morning. Captain Gallent Ffolger shifted uneasily. "Hmm, I don't reckon I like th' bally look o' this place, wot. I wonder what kind o' blasted curmudgeons reside on the premises, eh. Maybe a couple crabby foxes, or p'raps your odd wretched crowchap, mebbe. Brrr, I can't wait 'til we're out o' this blinkin' needlewood forest, that's one thing fah bally sure. Wot!"
- "Hmm, p'raps you're right," said Battlerun.