Prologue: A cold smile A blizzard whirled and raged in the land of ice and snow. All creatures that were not under cover would freeze to death. In the middle of this land stood a great fortress, inside which ruled the Evil Stella. She was a Pure Ferret, solid white like the rest of her family. She fought with a mace and chain or anything with poison in it. But the most frightening thing about her was her eyes. They were green with a hint of gold and could enchant anyone with a single stare. She had a horde of fifty score ferrets. They were all female and all had a certain specialty. She smiled coldly. This smile was as cold as the winter it self. For in the spring she would march south and conquer The Mouse Brigade. It was cold outside. But it was not as cold as Mighty Stella’s smile!
Chapter 1: The Mouse Brigade General Storm sighed. In the old days he was known as Storm because of his unstoppable fury in battle. Now he was old and no good at fighting. His mice were all old like he was; the young had left looking for adventure. If it wasn’t for his unit of hares and otters a score of vermin could overrun The Mouse Brigade. Just then a knock sounded on the door and a medium-aged hare entered, carrying a tray of food. “Good morning, General Storm. I thought you would like some breakfast.” General Storm nodded and said, “Yes indeed. You’ve brought me raspberry scones and mint tea, my favorite! Thank you Sergeant Lancing.” The hare smiled and said, “It was nothing. I say, may I breakfast with you? I don’t think you can cope with all those scones.” General Storm raised his eyebrows and scowled, “Just you watch me!” It was known that hares are the best scoffers there can be. Now however, Lancing watched in amazement as the General gobbled up all the scones. “That was amazing, general!” Storm smiled and chuckled, “I know it was. There’s no one who can out scoff me, the General!” The air rang with the friends’ laughter.
Down below in the soldiers’ barracks an old veteran mouse grumbled, “When is this accursed winter going to end? It’s been going on for five months now! Chills me right to the bones, it does.” A young otter stood up and grinned, “Stop grumbling Hard Rock. Everything is going to be fine.” The mouse merely wrapped himself up in another blanket and grunted, “Why should I believe you, Cheek? You said that last week!” The otter laughed and said, “I know. But it still improves morale.” A hare walked up and growled, “Stand to attention when you see an officer, Private Cheek!’ The otter stood to attention and shouted, “Yes, sir, Brigadier Thyme, sir!” Then a hare ran up and whispered something in Thyme’s ear. “There’s a vermin band of two score vermin, stoats and weasels, coming this way.” Brigadier stood up and yelled, “I need at least thirty good archers with me at the double!” Cheek moved out of the way and sat down next to Hard Rock. “Why are you sitting down, Private?” stormed the Brigadier. Cheek smiled and answered, “You said good archers, and I’m not one of those.” Thyme sighed and looked around for his archers. “Come on men, let’s get going!”
Crookback the stoat looked around at his vermin band. He reasoned that with forty vermin he could over run the Mouse Brigade without losing a single warrior. One of his vermin, called Slayer, was complaining loudly. “I don’t think that we can defeat all those mice with a band like ours. Maybe we should look for more recruits.” Suddenly a rock hit Crookback and a vermin voice shouted, “Take that you pile of apples!” Crookback turned on a small thin rat with a bump on his head. “No, please don’t kill me Chief, I didn’t do it, please don’t kill me!” The stoat snarled and killed the rat. Then another rock hit his head. This time a stoat called Rag was killed. In a few minutes the whole camp was full of turmoil. In the woods were the Brigadier and his archers. “Trust vermin to fight among themselves because of a few rocks!” Then Thyme and his archers rushed in, whacking the vermin. Then the Brigadier shouted, “I want you all to run north and never come back to the Mouse Brigade, got that?” The remaining thirty vermin nodded in terror and ran.
General Storm looked severely at Hard Rock and Brigadier Thyme. “So why didn’t you tell me that there were vermin attacking?” Brigadier Thyme answered, “Because I didn’t think it was important enough for you to know.” General Storm humphed and looked at Hard Rock. “And you? What do you have to say for yourself?” Hard Rock chuckled and said, “I didn’t tell you because you didn’t ask me!” All three friends laughed at this comment. Suddenly the air became warmer and the birds started flying over head. Down below Cheek jumped up the height of three badgers and shouted, “Spring is here! Spring is here!” Hard Rock laughed and yelled, “Hooray!” Even Brigadier Thyme was leaping for joy. Soon four hundred woodlanders were happily reveling that the winter was over.
Crookback the stoat was running, along with his vermin band. Then, after running for two hours they stopped for a rest. In three days the vermin were still running north, afraid of the hare. When they stopped for a rest again it was way past nightfall. “We’ll rest here, and then continue to march north.” The tired weasels and stoats were asleep as soon as they hit the ground. Suddenly a hand lifted Crookback by the scruff of the neck and he found himself looking at the most frightening face he ever had seen. In front of him stood Stella the Evil, slowly whirling her mace. “Who is the leader of this vermin gang, you or I?” Crookback knew his life depended on the right answer. “You are, My Lady.” Stella smiled and called out, “Rala, Stala, get these miserable wretches to the other underlings.” The two ferrets smiled viciously and started dragging sleeping bodies to some other place. When Crookback got there he saw about five hundred different vermin sitting chained up to large poles. Stella looked to the south. “Get ready mice, for here I come!”
Chapter 2: Redwall Abbey Benjo sighed and stood up, groaning as he did so. His old, tired, bones were just no good any more. He went to his friends Skipper and Colonel Corn. They were trying to calm down a horde of Dibbuns, Redwall’s young ones, which was proving to be impossible “Hey, stop running around and sit still!” “Don’t even think about swimming in the pond!” The Dibbuns were running around and screaming like crazy. “But Skipper, I want to swim just like you!” Benjo smiled and walked up to the Dibbuns. “Listen up, mates. The Friar is giving out candied chestnuts to the Dibbuns, but only at noon.” It was two minutes till noon. The army of babies stampeded away to Redwall’s kitchen. Skipper grinned and said, Thanks for that one, mate. We would be dead if we were with those monsters a moment longer.” Then a squirrel jumped up and shouted, “The Long Patrol is coming, and they’re hungry!” Colonel Corn greeted his old friends; Colonel Apple, Field Marshal Carrot, and Major Mullist Muckworthy. A young hare shouted out, “Where’s the food? I’m starving!” Friar Delicious laughed and said, “The food is in the Great Hall!” The Redwallers were nearly run over as the hares raced to the Great Hall.
General Storm was delighted. The winter was finally over and he had got forty new recruits, all of them being squirrels. Now he had three hundred mice, fifty otters, fifty hares, and forty squirrels. Outside his otters were happily running around outside and the squirrels were chasing the hares. Then Hard Rock came in, with a serious expression. “Why do you look so sad, Hard Rock? This is a wonderful day!” Hard Rock answered grimly, “I had a dream last night. In it was a fierce-looking mouse with a red sword. He said;
“There is danger for the Brigade, journey to the Abbey to be safe.”
General Storm thought about this cryptic message. Then he sighed and said, “Tell my officers to come here.” When they were in he looked at them all. There was Sergeant Lancing, Brigadier Thyme, Lieutenant Field, Marshal Hester, Sergeant Radie, Sergeant Larmrock, and Sergeant Leaf. I want each of you to take a score of soldiers and investigate the country. Don’t go too far, however. I don’t want you guys lost in the land of ice and snow.” His officers nodded and left the room.
Stella the Evil was talking with her second-in-command, Frechta. “How many of the lesser orders do we have?” “We have about twelve thousand here and five thousand at sea.” Then a stoat ran up and said, “My Lady, there are a score of beasts attacking us. What do we do, My Lady?” Stella dealt him a blow that sent him spinning. “Fight them, you fool!” Brigadier Thyme was hard pressed against the overwhelming number of vermin. A squirrel ran up to him and shouted, “We’re down to eight squirrels now, Brigadier!” Thyme yelled back, “If I’m going to die I’m going to die in style!” Then the Brigadier and his squirrels charged the vermin with one final war cry. Rala ran up to Stella and bowed low. “We have killed a score of enemies, My Lady.” Stella smiled wickedly and asked, “And how many did we lose?’ The ferret bit her lip and didn’t answer. Stella smiled even wider and put a paw on Rala’s shoulder, Stella’s claws piercing her shoulder. ”How many?” Rala still didn’t answer. Stella put her other arm on Rala’s other shoulder, causing the ferret to cry out in pain. The Pure Ferret sank her claws deeper into Rala’s shoulders, making her scream in pain. “We lost one hundred and twenty, My Lady! Please let me go, My Lady!” Stella suddenly kicked out, sending Rala sprawling. “Get out of my sight, you idiot!
”Chapter 3: Marching north Far, far to the south there ruled one called Megraut the Terrifying. He was a large stoat armed with a cutlass and missing an eye. He had an army of five thousand stoats and his mate, Firebrand, had an army of seven thousand foxes. They were now marching north, to Redwall Abbey. At the present he was arguing with Firebrand, as usual. “I will be in charge of the army during battle!” “No, I will!” Outside their best captain, Grim, was listening to the argument. He planned to dispose of both of them as soon as they captured Redwall Abbey.
Firebrand stood in front of a terrified dormouse and his family. She was intimidating, that you could say for sure. She was a red-colored fox with a scar from her ear to her jaw line. Her claws were far sharper then a normal foxes. Her fangs were so long that they stuck out of her mouth. She was far larger than a normal fox; in fact she was the size of a wolverine. But the most frightening thing about her was her eyes. They were completely black except for a tiny part in the center. That part was silver. In her belt were three daggers and a wicked-looking saber. “Tell me, you stupid mouse, where is Redwall Abbey?” The mouse didn’t answer. Firebrand pulled out her saber and looked at the mouse’s son. The mouse, sensing her intent, hurriedly cried out, “Redwall Abbey is three days from here, just march north and you’ll see it!” The fox nodded to two guards. “You know what to do.” They seized the mice and dragged them away.
All of the officers reported back to General Storm. All except two. These two were Sergeant Radie and Brigadier Thyme. “Does anyone of you have anything suspicious to report?” Sergeant Lancing stepped forward and said, “There’s an unusual absence of vermin bands around the area.” All of the other officers nodded their agreement. Suddenly Radie burst into the room, badly wounded and panting. “There’s a ferret warlord coming here. She has about thirteen thousand at her command.” Then he fainted clean away. “Get Radie to the healers and prepare the defenses!” The captains turned to leave, only to be confronted by Hard Rock. “We can’t fight to death. We have to retreat to Redwall Abbey sooner or later. The general remembered the dream and nodded, “I know. But first we will fight!”
Stella confronted the ‘underlings’. They were called underlings because they weren’t female ferrets. They were treated like slaves. “Listen up, half-wits. Today we’re marching on the Mouse Brigade. We will win no matter what!” The vermin nodded and split up into groups. Each female ferret would command one hundred lesser species, except for Frechta and Stella. They would command a thousand each. Then the ferrets assembled themselves in squads of ten ferrets. The ten squadrons went separate ways. After half an hour Stella and Frechta marched forward, straight for the Mouse Brigade. When they got there a fierce battle was already raging. Vermin were firing arrows at the wall, but they were returned by the defenders with much more aim and deadliness.
General Storm was delighted. His army was managing to repel the oncoming horde, despite the tremendous odds. Suddenly arrows began raining on the defenders, and they turned around to see two thousand vermin firing at them, one thousand on the left and one thousand on the right. General Storm bellowed, “Retreat!” The woodland defenders quickly ran. Stella was issuing orders to her vermin army. “Rala, Stala, Gormla, and Grizla, you stay behind with your squads and guard the Ferret Brigade till we get back."
Chapter 4: Going to the Abbey General Storm was grimly listening as Sergeant Lancing reported their numbers. “We have only ten squirrels, five otters, and fifteen hares. But the good news is that about sixty mice slingers have joined our ranks. We have two hundred and ten mice, not counting the new recruits.” The General nodded and said, “Excused.” Then he thought about the vermin warlord. He had seen her somewhere, he was sure of it. Then Sergeant Leaf walked up and said, “We have had eighty moles join up with our ranks. In two seconds Marshal Hester jogged up and said, “Our ranks have been swelled by fifty otters.” By two hours time General Storm was commanding almost a thousand warriors.
Stella the Evil was listening as a trembling ferret reported the size of their horde. “My Lady, we lost four hundred and fifty during the combat.” Stella nodded and said “You’re excused.” The frightened ferret almost ran out of the tent. Crookback the stoat was desperately trying to free himself from the big pole. An old weasel watched him. “You know you can’t escape from her. She’s a magic beast.” Crookback laughed and said, “Yeah right. Listen, you all are idiots but I’m getting out of here.” Stella snuck up behind him and whispered, “They’re not nearly as idiotic as you are.” Crookback nearly jumped out of his skin as he heard her voice. The warlord stood up and said, “All of my ferrets have a specialty. Even I do. My specialty is… torturing! The weasel listened as Crookback screams echoed through the air. The next second the stoat’s body flew out of the tent, landing next to the old weasel. Crookback looked hideous. He was covered in whip marks and cuts. Half of the fur on Crookback’s arm was cut off. The stoat was missing the tip of his ear and had twelve teeth knocked out.
Megraut listened to his captain, Grim. “We will reach the Abbey in a manner of hours. When we get there Firebrand will already be attacking the fortress. We should be able to take the Abbey without-“suddenly an arrow flew in and cut him on his ear. This was followed by a yell, “We’re under attack!” Grim ran out of the tent and saw squirrels and otters cutting through his troops. “Rally to me, to me!” shouted Grim. About eighty stoats ran to him. Then they charged a small group of otters. The ten otters were killed, but it had cost him thirty six warriors. The stoats were beginning to form into larger groups and fight back. Then a mob of voles hit his Megraut’s flank, killing a lot of his men. All seemed lost when…
… An army of foxes, lead by Firebrand, thudded into the enemy army. The woodlanders tried to fight back, but they were outnumbered five to one. The woodlanders retreated with lightning speed. Firebrand listened as a soldier reported their numbers. “We lost three hundred and seventy five stoats, and two hundred thirty eight foxes. Meanwhile, they lost fifty otters, seventy six squirrels, and one hundred eight voles.” Firebrand merely nodded. Then she walked up to Megraut and sneered, “You know that we lost three hundred seventy nine more than they did.” Megraut turned on her, snarling. He whipped out his cutlass and charged her in his rage. She blocked the unexpected blow with her saber. Then she threw one of her daggers, hitting him in the stomach. He roared and swung his cutlass with all his might. Unfortunately for Megraut, Firebrand decided to do the same exact thing. A tremendous cracking sound was heard as the stoat’s cutlass was broken in two. Firebrand closed in on her opponent. The stoat managed one final scream.
General Storm saw Mossflower Woods in the distance. He knew that the Abbey was in Mossflower Woods. He turned around to see Lieutenant Field standing behind him. “We just had a hundred more mice join our ranks, General.” The General nodded and was about to speak when Sergeant Lancing ran in, shouting, “The scouts said that the Abbey is only five hours away!” The General stood up and said, “Prepare our men. We’re moving out.” When they got to the Abbey they gasped in wonder. Suddenly they heard a lot of talking and turned to see an army of woodlanders coming from the west.
Chapter 5: Strategy Stella the Evil was making plans. She had planned to take over only the Mouse Brigade, but now those fools had led her to Redwall Abbey! It was a perfect plan. She would unleash one of her secret weapons, an army of crows and ravens. While the birds were attacking her horde would be gaining entrance. She would also have warriors tunneling under the Abbey, if her first plan failed. And if that also failed… she had a deadly plan in store for Redwall, oh yes she did! The leader of the birds was a bird named Wroc Caw. He was a crow, but he had enough experience to out fight a red kite. He knew perfectly that what was proposed to him was suicide. However, he had wanted to live in that place for years! It would be a shame to refuse such an offer.
Skipper introduced the General Storm and his army to Redwall Abbey. Suddenly harsh screeches sounded overhead, and everybody looked up to see hordes of crows and ravens flying down at them. The fastest bird by far was Wroc. With a resounding caw, he dived on Skipper. The otter was taken by surprise and received at least a dozen scratches. He snarled and jabbed at the large crow with a javelin, wounding him on the wing. Then he bit the crow’s other wing, preventing him from flying away. “You fools help me!” rasped Wroc. About two score ravens dove on Skipper, making him recoil. That was all that the crow needed. With a screech of triumph he plunged his beak deep into Skipper’s chest. The otter, however, was born a fighter. As he breathed his final breath he stabbed Wroc in the head, mortally wounding him. Then both foes, otter and crow, slowly fell to the ground.
While the otter and crow were fighting, a fierce battle was raging around them. Now the battle ceased as both Redwaller and bird looked at the scene. The birds, seeing their leader’s dead body, cawed loudly and flew off in different directions. When the noise died down everybody heard the unmistakable sound of a battering ram hitting the door. They ran up to the wall to see about seventy vermin attacking the gate. The squirrel archers promptly decimated the enemy force. Stella’s first plan had failed!
Firebrand and Grim crouched on the other side of the Abbey, checking for Redwall’s weaknesses. Suddenly Grim noticed something. He whispered to Firebrand. She nodded and they returned to camp. When night came Grim and Firebrand arrived, accompanied by about two hundred stoats. Grim had noticed that only a bar held the gate in place. If someone pushed hard enough, the door would bust open. Firebrand took a running start and smashed against the gate. The gate promptly crashed over with tremendous noise. As if that was not enough the stoats charged in, yelling war cries. Redwall’s defenders came rushing out of the building, pulling weapons out of sheaths. Firebrand roared with rage and charged her opponents.
The fox picked up another shrew and sent him flying through the air. Then she swung her saber and killed an otter. Suddenly she heard a ferocious roar and saw an enormous badger charging her. The badger was, in fact, Roolag the Titanic, known for his great size. He swung his gigantic battle blade, killing twelve stoats. Then he smashed his blade at Firebrand, and she was barely able to deflect it. She turned around and saw that she could not win. “Retreat!” she shouted. The remaining twenty six stoats ran for their lives. When they returned to camp Firebrand stormed to her tent, furious.
Chapter 6: Tunnel! Colonel Corn listened sadly as Private Cheek reported their losses. “We lost about seventy woodlanders to the crows and ravens. If this keeps going on our army will disintegrate into nothing.” Suddenly a mole ran up and said, “The vermin are tunneling under the Abbey!” Underground, a ferret named Rizla was leading about three hundred vermin in the digging. Then they burst out of the ground, yelling bloodcurdling war cries. They stopped, surprised and shocked. In front of them was about half of Redwall’s army. Rizla shouted, “What are you waiting for, fools? Charge!” The vermin crashed into the larger force.
Rizla expertly swung her sword. Sergeant Lancing deflected the blow and returned it. The ferret parried and slashed at him. Back and forth they went, stabbing and hacking. Then the hare leapt to the left and swung his blade. The horrified vermin watched as their leader’s head flew up to the battlements. Then, as if they were one being, they dropped their weapons. Roolag lifted his huge battle sword and shouted, “Do you hate your vermin leaders?” “Yes!” Everyone of them answered. “Will you fight against them?” The answer was again the same. “Then we will fight!”
Firebrand had come up with what she thought was a foolproof plan. She would have a siege tower hit the side of the wall, distracting the defenders. While they were repelling the tower she would have a strike force use grappling hooks to climb over the walls! She would also have Grim mount a diversionary assault at the main gate. She was sure she would not fail.
Grim put another arrow into his bow and fired, killing a mouse. All around him, hundreds of stoats were doing the same. Then a yell came from the southern side of the wall. “It’s a siege tower! Help!” Part of Redwall’s defenders rushed off to the wall. Then another shout was heard from the west side of the wall. “They’re using grappling hooks!” Even more defenders rushed off. Grim sighed and rolled his eyes. Now what was he supposed to do? Suddenly he saw something out of the corner of his eye. He pulled out his sword and was barely able to block Stella’s mace. The mace wrapped around the sword. Then Stella pulled, and the sword went flying.
Stella swung her mace, killing Grim. As Grim’s eyes clouded over he heard a voice. “Tell your boss that your plan failed!” Scar the fox shot another arrow at the battlements. The arrow hit a hare, and he fell to the ground. Then he felt a dagger at his throat, and he heard someone tell him, “Drop your weapon and go where I tell you to.” Scar dropped his bow and followed orders. When he got there he faced Stella, who was armed with her mace. “And who might be the leader of this rabble?” The fox boldly stepped forward and said, “I am.” Stella swung her mace, almost carelessly, killing Scar on the spot. “Who is the leader?” This time the defeated vermin answered, “You are!”
Chapter 7: The Gray Death General Storm was deep in conversation with Roolag the Titanic. “Our total numbers are thirteen thousand, seven hundred eighty four. I think there are two hordes attacking the Abbey, one from the south and one from the north. I think that if they band together we’ll be slaughtered.” General Storm nodded his agreement. Colonel Corn came up and sighed. “I lost me best mate, Skipper, to some ugly crow. It isn’t right!”
Skipper of the River Otter Union listened intently as a robin told him news of Redwall Abbey. “They are under attack from two warlords, one being Firebrand the fox and the other is Stella the Evil. They will definitely be defeated if they do not get help.” Skipper tossed the robin a bag of candied chestnuts and jogged away. He had work to do. First Skipper gathered his otter crews, in total numbering three hundred otters. Then he sent messengers to Holt Lutra, Holt Rudderwake, Holt Mossguard, and Holt Summerdell. It would take several weeks to reach all of them, but once they did he would have lots of reinforcements for Redwall.
Stella approached an old rat, taking care not to come too close. He was grey, and seemed to be sick. She made a stoat unchain the rat and lead them to the Abbey walls. Then the rat touched the wall and went back to his pole. As soon as the rat was chained up Stella took a bow and shot the stoat. She could not risk the Gray Death spreading in her troops. In Redwall Abbey, Cheek was standing on the wall as sentry. Suddenly his head started spinning and his stomach began to ache. A kind hare named Clary walked up and felt the otter’s brow. “I think you have a temperature, Cheek. I better take you to the Infirmary.”
Friar Dan was nervous. He already had fifteen patients, and the number was rapidly growing. Some had begun to turn grey, others fell unconscious, and still others felt past injuries return with more vigor then ever. He looked in his book of diseases to see if he could find anything. He saw that the only cure to this sickness was Flowers of Icetor, boiled in seawater and sprinkled with hotroot pepper. The character who wrote down the cure also mentioned that after the cure was administered the patient would first become worse, then better.
Firebrand stood in front of a shaking captain, swishing her saber. “So Grim and his two hundred stoats and foxes, disappeared, just like that? And what about the siege tower? Did I hear you order it to retreat?” The terrified stoat managed to whimper, “It wasn’t my fault, I swear!” Firebrand jabbed him cruelly in the stomach. “So you didn’t order them to retreat, did you?” The captain quickly grabbed the favor and said, “No, I didn’t.” Firebrand stabbed with her saber, killing the stoat. “Die, you liar!”
Log-a-log Rapier had also heard the news about Redwall being in trouble. He had been gathering Guosim and Guosssom shrews over the past few weeks. He had two thousand five hundred shrews at his command. Now he was going north, to get the Guorafs, or the northern shrew tribes. About five weeks east from Salmandastron, there was a union of squirrels. This union was going to visit Redwall Abbey, unaware of what was happening there.
Chapter 8: Betrayal!
Frechta had had enough of this accursed war. She was taking a thousand warriors and returning to the land of ice and snow. With any luck, Stella would not notice her departure until it was too late. Then she would rule the Northlands till Stella came back, and when she did, Frechta would arrange a little reception for her. When night fell, Frechta and one thousand vermin quietly slipped away, to the north. Firebrand tried to think of another scheme to capture Redwall Abbey, but nothing came to mind. Then someone tapped her on the shoulder, and she turned around to see Stella the Evil.
‘Are you trying to think of a plan to capture the Abbey?” asked Stella. “Yes, but I can’t think of anything.” Stella smiled wickedly and whispered, “Then listen to me. I’ve got a perfect plan!” Inside the Abbey, only two score warriors were not infected with the Gray Death. Out of all the woodlanders, Cheek was the worse infected. He was solid grey and had blood spurting out of his skin. His head was throbbing and his whole body was clenched up, as if in great pain. Friar Dan put a wet rag on Cheek’s brow, and then fed him some pain killer. Then, suddenly, he toppled back, unconscious. Roolag picked him up and placed him on a bed. “Yet another victim of this evil disease. Something must be done!”
That night, Firebrand went to sleep delighted. She was practically ecstatic at the plan Stella had conjured up. She was sleeping so soundly that she did not notice several figures come in and tie her up. She did not hear the speech that Stella spoke to the fox’s troops. She did not see that her troops now served Stella the Evil, a Pure Ferret. When Firebrand woke up she discovered she was heavily tied up and gagged. She was still lying down, and Stella neatly placed her foot on Firebrand’s head. “How do you feel about this, fox? Not so high and mighty now, are you? I hope you will learn that I am the master, and I get the full reward, not some lowly fox.” Firebrand struggled and said some very disrespectful oaths. However, the ropes were tied securely and the gag muffled her complaints. Stella took out a whip and hit Firebrand once, twice, and three times on the back.
“Listen up, idiot. You are now my slave, and if you behave I will give you some decent food. If you don’t behave, I’ll whip you. Is that understood?” Firebrand nodded. “Take her away.” said Stella. A ferret called Sarda was in charge of the operation. Stella’s plan was to overwhelm the Redwallers with tons of siege towers, battering rams, grappling hooks, ladders, and catapults. To do this, however, she needed a massive work force. So Firebrand’s army was working, along with the underlings of Stella’s army.
Firebrand tried yet again to rip through the ropes that tied her up. It was hopeless. Then the tent flap opened, and Stella came in. Firebrand’s spirit was not very strong. She had great power, but her spirit was not hard to break. The Pure Ferret decided to take advantage of that trait. She began mercilessly whipping and beating the fox. Then she took out her mace and hit Firebrand on the shoulder. Then the fox’s spirit broke. “No, My Lady, please no more, I’ve learned my lesson!” Stella grinned evilly and exited the tent. One more pawn in the game was hers.
Chapter 9: Charge! Colonel Corn was one of the few who was not infected. He was busy attending Cheek, along with Hard Rock. “No more. Stop. I want to die in peace.” rasped Cheek. Colonel Corn fed him some pain killer, but it did no use. Then a scream was heard from the battlements, and the hare looked out the window. He saw siege towers crashing against the wall, heard the steady thudding of a battering ram, and saw grappling hooks flying in the air. He rushed outside and confronted the vermin. However, there was simply too many of them. Within an hour, Redwall was captured.
Stella cruelly scarred Colonel Corn on the cheek. “How do you feel, fool?” He snarled and struggled, but to no avail. The bindings were just too tight. Then three war cries sounded in the gloom. “There’s nothing ‘otter than an otter!” “Logalogalogalogalogaloggggggg!” “Charge!” The vermin army was hit by a horde of otters, squirrels, and shrews. The perilous warriors easily defeated the vermin. Stella took the seven hundred ferrets that were left and escaped through the tunnel.
Firebrand roared with rage as she was confronted by a shrew. The shrew was Log-a-log’s son and his greatest pride. The fox hit him on the skull, breaking it. Then she stabbed him with her saber and smashed him in the chest, killing him. Log-a-log had seen his son fall. He roared with rage and charged the fox. Firebrand stabbed him in the stomach, then on the leg. Then she lifted him and threw him against the wall. The shrew, however, was made of stern stuff, and he charged the fox again. He sidestepped her saber and stabbed her between her eyes, killing her.
An old otter was busy tending to Cheek. Holt Lutra had known the cure for the Gray Death for centuries, and now they were using it. The otter fed Cheek the medicine. Next to him stood Hard Rock and Colonel Corn. “I’m warning you, this gets worse before it gets better, so don’t shout at me.” warned the otter. Hard Rock listened for a pulse. There was none. Cheek had stopped breathing. The old mouse glared at the otter. The otter was counting under his breath. Then he said, “I don’t think your friend is dead.” Hard Rock turned, and sure enough, Cheek’s skin was returning to its normal color, his wounds were vanishing, and then he sat up, smiling. “It’s good to be back, mates!”
Stella ran with her once infamous horde. She ran away from the woodlanders and their accursed Abbey. She would go to the land of ice and snow and live in her fortress again. And if they followed her… they would all die! Her vermin ran as fast as she did, some faster. They knew that they had to escape the Redwallers, or die. Aye, they ran!
Chapter 10: Pursuit! Skipper of the river union led the otters in battle. General Storm would lead the mice in battle. Roolag the Titanic would lead the hares in battle. Sergeant Lancing would lead the rest. They were marching after Stella. They would not let her escape. Fifteen thousand woodlanders charged after the Pure Ferret. Stella the Evil had reached the Mouse Brigade. To her puzzlement, it was empty. She thought about this for a moment, and then she figured it out. Frechta. She charged onward, along with her seven hundred vermin.
Frechta sat on Stella’s throne, sipping damson wine and eating truffles. This was the life for her, sitting quietly in a fortress surrounded by fortune. She did not know that this peace would not last.
Cheek sat with his best friend, Hard Rock, as he wondered about the future. “What are you going to do once we defeat Stella?” asked Cheek. “I’ll go back to the Mouse Brigade and live my life out there. What about you?” answered the old mouse. “I’ll join Skipper and his otters.” General Storm was talking to Skipper. “So, General, we have to catch up with Stella the Evil or- “What?! Her name is Stella?” The otter nodded and said, “Aye mate, that’s her name. Why do you want to know?” General Storm leaned down and put his head in his paws. “Stella murdered my family when I was young. That’s what caused me to be so furious in fighting!”
A scout ran up to Roolag and said, “We’ve reached the Mouse Brigade!” Roolag said to General Storm, “Let’s send the bare minimum to her fortress, have the rest protect the brigade.” General Storm nodded and said, “I’ll take one thousand of our best fighters with me, okay?” At noon, the general and the fighters left the Brigade, to almighty cheers.
Chapter 11: The monster dies Stella had camped on a mountain. Her ferrets were ready for the oncoming battle. Then she told fifty of her vermin to go to where the beast was kept and release him when the signal came. The ferrets nodded and left the scene. She smiled. She was ready.
Colonel Apple had taken two score with him to scout the countryside. Then suddenly, an angry roar sounded, and all hell broke loose. A black tiger jumped out on the woodlanders, squashing half of them. Then Stella’s vermin ran out, hacking and slashing. Colonel Apple delivered a powerful uppercut, knocking out the rat in front of him. A ferret swung her blade at him. He dodged, and killed her with an amazing side kick. Then two vermin grabbed his arms, and a third ferret ran up and lifted a spear. The hare kicked out, and the vermin reeled away with a bloody nose. Then the Colonel swung his head, first right, then left.
The two ferrets fell back, releasing Apple. Suddenly five ferrets jumped on him, pinning him down. A ferret stabbed him with a saber, and then tackled him. So died Colonel Apple of the Mouse Brigade. General Storm and Skipper saw the enemy army charging them, and they charged themselves. The two armies hit with a resounding crash. A wounded otter ran up and told what happened to Colonel Apple. Cheek had heard him and he decided to kill the tiger, with some help of course. He had gathered one hundred otters, a hundred squirrels, and a hundred hares, when Hard Rock stepped out, followed by eighty mice. “We’re coming with you.”
The big tiger was sleeping. Suddenly he woke up with a roar of rage as arrows rained down on him. He swiped a massive paw, killing twenty otters. Then he swallowed fifteen hares in one gulp, as arrows kept hitting him. He roared, with pain this time, and he saw Cheek. The otter had fallen against a mountain, and there was nothing he could do to dodge the tiger’s blow. Suddenly Hard Rock leapt in front of the otter, catching the blow that was meant for Cheek. The young otter gasped as the mouse’s body flew through the air, dead. He cried with pain and anger, and threw his javelin up, into the tiger’s eye. The tiger was about to kill Cheek when another javelin hit him in his other eye.
The tiger sent a roar that was heard in Redwall Abbey, and he started madly thrashing about. He crashed into a mountain, sending it tumbling down on him. The mountain crushed the tiger, ending his life instantly. He had crashed on the mountain with Stella’s fortress on it, killing Frechta and her one thousand vermin immediately.
Chapter 12: The final battle Sergeant Lancing swung his sword, beheading a ferret. He was worried. His fighters were outnumbered, for some strange reason. He saw a group of young shrews in trouble, and he fought his way to them. When he got there he slashed and parried to a ferret carrying a rapier. Then something hit him on the back of the head, knocking him out. Colonel Corn kicked the ferret in the stomach just as she was about to kill Lancing. Meanwhile, Log-a-log Rapier had taken care of five ferrets behind them. He stood next to the young shrews, killing all comers.
Field Marshal fired an arrow, rewarded by a sound of a scream from below. His sixty archers were doing the same. Then, suddenly, a rock hit his head, and everything went black. He woke up to find that he was tied up and gagged. There was a ferret next to him, holding a knife. “Any last words, fool?” She raised her knife… and fell back, dead, a javelin sticking out of her chest. A cry was heard, and Cheek ran past, closely followed by three hundred and forty five woodlanders.
General Storm was in a battle rage. He would stop at nothing to get to Stella. He swung his sword, killing a ferret. Then Stella appeared in front of him. He stabbed, catching her on the leg. She returned the blow, but it was deflected. The mouse stabbed again and again, and the Pure Ferret found herself retreating. He had already inflicted enormous wounds on her, and he was still going strong. Then Stella saw her chance. She leapt to the left, whirling her mace. General Storm cried in pain as the mace hit his head, killing him.
Skipper saw his friend’s demise, and charged Stella. The Pure Ferret, tired and wounded as she was, did not stand a chance. She was first hit on her knee, then on her shoulder, and finally in her chest. So died Stella the Evil, the last Pure Ferret. The other vermin, seeing their leader was dead, surrendered on the spot. Colonel Corn came up and said, “Good work, Skipper!” The otter replied, “I could not have done it without General Storm, mate.”
Epilogue: By Benjo, Redwall Abbey Recorder We have peace, at the long last! Skipper and his otters have gone back to their creeks, the Long Patrol to their mountain, and the Mouse Brigade was reformed. It is in its former glory, full of mice, whether young or old. Would you believe it, Sergeant Lancing got promoted as General. Anyway, I have to go; my mate Colonel Corn is calling me!