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Prologue: A mouse smiled as the sun rose slowly into the sky. He was a strong-looking young fellow, and carried a haversack strapped to his back and a oak staff, nearly as tall as himself. He then marched north. He was striding through the woodlands, then he came out, and gasped at what he saw. There was a great city there, with tall spires and elegant towers. He could see bustling figures walking around. The city was in a valley. He looked at the opposite end of the valley, and saw an old, damaged tower. His curiosity got better of him, and he went to see. As he approached the tower a strong otter strode to the top of the tower, holding a trumpet. Then he blew, and sweet notes filled the air. The sun was beggining to set, and the music rang through the clear air, enchanting the scene. Soon two squirrels strode out, both carrying flutes. Then came a hare, with a drum. The music flowed, and the mouse grinned broadly. It seemed to be alive, filling him with joy and happiness. Then they stopped playing, and went over to him. "Ahoy there, rest a bit with us, listen to a good story!" called out the otter. He nodded and followed them. "This is the first tale." he said, picking up a dusty old tome. "It begins like this..."
The First Tale: The Second Taggerung
Alkanna the ottermaid ran, knowing it was her only hope. A stoat and a fox watched as she jogged off. The stoat snarled, "Why can't we catch her?! What do you mean, she won't be tested enough?!" The fox threw some bones in the air, noting their positions when they landed. "If she is to be a true Taggerung, we must let her escape first, then catch her again. That is what the omens say." The stoat hit a tree in frustaration, then yelled, "Fine, but we won't wait long, I swear on my own name! Be afraid, otter, for Vzzelo the Ruthless is coming!"
Alkanna flopped down near a streambed, panting. She was a pretty ottermaid, with large mucles for one her age. She had a sling wrapped around her waist, and carried a sword in her left paw. The sword was her father's, given to her before he died. It had an emerald pommel, and was sharp enough to crack a rock in two. She leaned down and drank the water, sipping it gratefully. Then she layed down to sleep. When she woke it was noon, and she felt nice and refreshed. She stood up and gathered some berries and roots. Her father was a skilled forager, and he taught her well. Alkanna ate a meal of a few apples and dandelion roots, then went on her way. By nightfall she had not found a suitable place to camp, and was very sleepy and tired. Then the ottermaid noticed a large, flat meadow, perfect for the night. As soon as Alkanna lay down, she fell asleep. She didn't notice the sinister eyes watching her, and didn't feel the ground sinking below her. She had fallen asleep in a swamp!
Abbot Mandel, an old hedgehog, shuddered in his sleep. In his past, when vermin warlords were all too common, he had been a warrior, killing many. Lately, they came to him in nightmares, their expressions full of pain and agony. Then his woodlander friends came, their expressions full of anger. He could hear them shouting, "Why didn't you save me?!" And as he sobbing, tried to explain, their features hardened and they stabbed at him. He awoke, covered in sweat and panting. Then he saw a lit candle, and saw the Skipper of Otters, Swiftflight, come in his bedroom. "Anything wrong, Father Abbot?" He was young and handsome, and he was very strong. His whole body was sinewy, and he carried a javelin. The otter was very proud, and headstrong, and he had quite a temper to speak of. For some unknown reason, he despised female otters, and would often mock them. His father, the old Skipper, was killed by a disease, making him Skipper no matter what. Mandel sank back into his bed, wiping his brow. "It's all right, Skip, it was just a bad dream." Swiftflight nodded and left the room. The Abbot fell back asleep, sinking into the world of dreams.
Silverna, captain of the Slavevoyager, grinned evilly as she sighted the Isle, of Serpena. She was a tall, sinewy wolf, extremly agile and beautiful. Her fur was a light, silvery color, and she was armed with a whip and a double-ended blade. Her leader was a giant black wolf, armed with a mace and chain. His fortress was located in the center of the island. It was a grim, stone structure, with no way to escape. His slaves were working on a wall that would surround his fortress and grounds. Her ship docked on a beach, and her crew took the latest slaves to the compound. She herself went ot the fortress. The isle was small, so it was not long when she got there. She entered his throne room, gulping nervously. Even now, after twenty seasons of service for him, the throne room still impressed and terrified her. It was long, and dark, and it seemed the sculptures on the sides were alive. She bowed down, low, and called out, "My Lord, I have brought new slaves for the compound." A smooth voice rang out from somewhere in the gloom, "How many?" She shuddered as she heard this voice, then answered, "We have threescore, My Lord." She did not see the shadow over her, and yelped in terror as a strong paw grabbed her throat and brought her to the wolf's face. "You fool, threescore is not nearly enough for me." She was shaking with terror as she replied, "M-m-my Lord, I-I-I had no room i-i-in the hold, w-w-with my oarslaves and-" she bit her lip as she realised what she had said, and then screamed in pain as vicous claws tore her chest. "I told you to get rid of all your oarslaves, yet you disobeied me. You would of been dead by now, had you been anybody else." Silverna managed, between screams of pain, to rasp out, "P-p-please, M-M-My L-L-L-Lord, ahhhhh, give m-m-me another cha-arghhhh!!" The wolf mercilessly dug his claws in deeper, relishing her pain. Then he threw her to the ground, and placed a footpaw on her back. "This is your last warning, fool. When you get back to your ship, I want you to send all of your oarslaves to me. Then you will set sail for more slaves. Is that understood?" She nodded, then gasped in pain. "Yes, My Lord." He lifted her by the scruff of the neck and shouted, "Then go!" She fell back down, then scrambled away on all fours.
High Rhulian Mesa Wildlough, watched a male otter shot a stone at a stuffed dummy, a wildcat. The stone thudded straight between its eyes, and Mesa shouted, "Good shot! You're getting better, Srebarr!" He blushed and stared at the ground, saying, "I'm sure you could do a lot better." The ottermaid smiled and shrugged slightly. "You're right, I could, but for a beginer like you that was great!" Then she walked off, but turned around as Srebarr called, "Wait! Would you, um, how do I say this, err-"Yes? What do you need?" He stared at her perfect teeth and her hazel eyes, and said, "Um... could you teach me how to sling better?" She smiled, and said, "Of course!" Then she walked away, and he as Srebarr watched her go, he sighed and let his head droop down. Mesa continued walking, up to Holt Summerdell. She watched as boys looked at her in wonder, and sighed slightly. It was so annoying, having to put up with all of these young idiots. She wasn't getting married until she was much older, so why were they bothering her? She was a beatiful ottermaid, great at slining and a very good swimmer. Her mother had past on two seasons ago, and ever since then she was High Rhulian. It was so dull for her, the endless pampering and caring, she desperately wished it would all stop. She did not know her wish would come true, and she would wish more then ever for her previous life!
Alkanna woke, and realised she was nearly completely submerged. One of her arms shot out, and grabbed an overhanging branch from above. "Please, somebody help me, I can't hang on for long! Help!" A fox climbed out of the bushes, followed by four stoats. "Oh dear, is the poor otter stuck in the swamp? Maybe we should help her!" The other vermin laughed cruelly as he placed a foot on the ottermaid's head, then pushed. "Stop that, I-glrlglr!" The stoats fell about laughing as Alkanna struggled and tried to say things. Then a stone hit one of the stoats, slaying him. A warcry resounded around the surrounding woodlands. "Logalogalogaloooooooog!!!!!!" The vermin screamed and ran as shrews popped up eveywhere, with black headbands and rapiers. One of them threw a rope, and Alkanna climbed out. "Thank you, I coudn't have lasted much longer with those bullies." A shrew came out of the crowd in front of her and said, "No problem. I'm Log-a-log Boat, and I wander around Mossflower with my friends here. We are the Guosim, or the Guerrila Union of Shrews in Mossflower. Who are you?" She smiled and replied, "My name is Alkanna, and my holt was recently destroyed by some vermin." The shrew nodded grimly and said, "Here, I'll take you to Redwall Abbey. You'll be safe there." And so as the logboats spead off to the Abbey, Vzzelo and his horde followed!
The old Abbot winced as a few Dibbuns danced around his bed, yelling, "It's a sunny day, Father, time for you to wake up!" The old Badger Mother, Mena, came in and grabbed them all then left the room, berating the babies, "How dare you wake the Father Abbot up? You will be on Abbot's Report, and you'll get a bath first thing after breakfast!" The Abbot stepped in on their behalf, saying, "It's okay, Mena, I was getting up anyway. Go play, kids." The Dibbuns ran off, giggling as they planned a new mischief. Mandel smiled as he watched them scamper away, and said, "Ah, the energy of young ones, it makes me tired just to look at them." Mena smiled too and replied, "Yes, and let's hope they'll be as happy as they are now in the future!" But, alas, that was not to be.
Silverna sailed away again, northwest. After three hours she saw a large island, covered in trees. Then she saw about a score of otters collecting food from the seashore. She grinned, and told the steersrat to land the ship in some sort of cove. Once they had landed, the wolf took threescore and went ot the beach. Her forces attacked the otters from behind, knocking out a few. Then, javelins thudded into her troops, killing many. Silverna turned, and saw tons of otters coming from the east, throwing javelins the whole time. The vermin quickly retreated, not bothering about the dead or wounded. Once they got to the ship, the wolf asked her first mate, "How many did we lose?" He saluted and replied, "We lost about twelve, Captain." She nodded and said, "Leave me alone now. I must think."
The otters had a camp, about two weeks from Holt Summerdell. It was surrounded by a wooden wall, and all the strong otters went there for two weeks in the summer. Mesa was asking another otter some questions like about their numbers, their food supply, and their weapons. Fortunately, all the news was good. They had twenty one score otters, had tons of weapons, and could survive three months off their food. When night came, the otters gathered in a hall, eating and gossiping. Mesa sat with her mother’s old bodyguard, and her younger brother. The bodyguard, named Thunderjav, grinned and called out, “Well, we’ll be alerted if we’re attacked tonight. Old Schedar is on guard duty tonight, and he doesn’t like them vermin.” The ottermaid grinned back and replied, “Almost makes you want the vermin to try something, doesn’t it?” Then, an explosion rocked the night, and a voice cried out, “Attack! We’re under attack!” Mesa, her brother, and Thunderjav ran out, gasping out at what they saw. There was a giant hole in the wall, and vermin were trying to get past a huge otter with a javelin. He was roaring and hacking at the vermin, letting none pass. Thunderjav cried out, “Go hold the main gate! I’ll help Schedar out!” So had the battle of the Green Isle begun!
Vzzelo paced around the camp impatiently, grinding his teeth angrily. “How long does it take for those half-wit oafs to kill a score of squirrels and bring one alive?! Idiots!” Then, as if in response to his comment, five vermin stepped out, carrying a terrified young squirrelmaiden. Vzzelo was quite the figure himself, not to be messed with. He was a tall stoat, with a black cape and dark brown fur. He carried a poisoned dagger with him, and had a red bandanna. Now he leered closer to the squirrel, enjoying her terror. “So squirrel, do you want to see daylight again? Or should I just boil you and feed you to my troops?” She screamed at the suggestion, and sobbed out, “Please don’t kill me, I will do anything, just don’t do that to me!” The stoat grinned, and replied, “Aren’t you lucky, then? I have the perfect job for you, oh yes!” She shuddered again, as she heard these words.
Alkanna grinned as the boats sped through the water. She loved the motion of the boats, and the water was lovely and smooth. Then a panicking voice called out, “Log-a-log, we won’t turn in time!” The ottermaid looked forward, and saw foamy water, and fish stuck in it, trying to break free. There was a calm stream to the left them, and the shrews started paddling to it. However, the rapids sucked them in, and all chaos was unleashed. Two boats were immediately overturned, a third one flew up into the air and crashed into the air, and the others went spinning at crazy angles. Log-a-log nearly fell overboard, but Alkanna managed to grab him and hang on tight. Then she saw a sudden plunge up ahead, and screamed as she flew through the air.
Silverna grinned triumphantly as her forces cut through the otters’ ranks, killing many. Most, however, were knocked out and taken as slaves. However, a few otters were still fighting, and they weren’t losing. These were Schedar, Mesa, her younger brother, Thunderjav, and a few other warriors. The wolf charged toward one of them, swinging her blade. The first otter screamed in pain as the blade thudded into his head, killing him. Another tried to fight, but was quickly killed. A third followed him, and a fourth. Then Schedar came into battle, stabbing with his javelin. He stabbed, but she blocked, and then hacked at him. He deflected this blow, and swung forward. So they continued to parry and thrust, until Schedar suddenly bit Silverna on the shoulder! She screamed and tried to leap back, but the otter grimly hung on. A group of vermin hacked at him, forcing him to let go. As he turned his attention to the vermin, the wolf recovered herself and stabbed him in the back.