The old weasel opened the door. His den was a little cave with a wooden door on a mountain-side. He stumbled into his house. Waiting for him, was Abbott Cornelius, two stoats, two rats, and some babes. Silverfur the Otter and Furback the Squirrel, both very old, were also in the den. The old ferret settled down into an armchair.
"Burglebuber! Yer 'ere at last! Can ye tell us a story now?" asked a young squirrel, Furback's own son, named Maplebark. Burglebuber chuckled.
"Aye, I can liddle Maplebark. That is, if yer pater approves" said Burglebuber, as he looked up at Furback, who nodded gently.
"Then I shall begin..." started the old weasel.
The three rats and a weasel walked steadily towards the anchored ship. They were tired, and fearful, for they had not been able to catch what they were after. The weasel was big, and burly. He looked tough and he had many scars to prove it was so. He had one eye, and he had a mangled leg as well. The weasel was about six paces ahead of the three rats, all young. The rats were weak, and carried short javelins. They were skinny and skittish. They had heard much rustling from the bushes on either side from them.
"Frinal, you 'ear that?" asked Dargoll, a secret admirer of the pretty young ratmaid.
"Aye Dargoll. I 'eard it. Wha' was et?" said Ringlash, the third of the rats.
"Ole Riblint's bound ter find out. E's a sharp weasel mates." said Frinal.
"Aye rat-scum. I am sharp and yer better know et!" said Riblint, who had overheard the rats talking, and was annoyed at the two male rat's ignorance.
"Sir, we knew ye was sharp! That's why we's tellin' each udder." said Ringlash, the more intelligent of the two males. Frinal was smarter than both males combined.
"Sir, sence Frinal said yer was sharp, I knew twas true. Frinal's the smartest of all beasts!" said Dargoll, foolishly.
"Smarter than me?" asked Riblint, who was grinning evilly, reaching for his throwing dirk.
"Oh yes sir! She be a smarter than the two o' ya combined!" said Dargoll. Then realization dawned upon him.
"Er... twas only kiddin' sir. Yer much smarter than she..." said Dargoll, trying to make up. Frinal kicked him.
"Yew callin' me an idjit?" she asked, holding her javelin threateningly.
"No, no Frinal! Twas only tryin' ter trick ole Riblint inter fergivin' me!" said Dargoll, chuckling.
"I think Riblint 'eard ya." said Ringlash. Dargoll looked up, and saw the weasel edging closer to the dumb rat, dirk in paw. Just then, a creature cloaked all over, with only his paws and nose tip visible, leaped out of the brush. The three rats screamed and ran for the ship, as Riblint was left to face the thing. The weasel stood, frozen with terror, as the cloaked figure stabbed him over and over, until Riblint fell and died.
"Yew three again. Where's Riblint got ter this time?" asked Selk, a stoat.
"Leddus inter thah ship thar's a mad black figger after us!" shouted Ringlash at the stoat guard.
"Why didn't ye say so laddies! Inter tha ship ye go an' ah'll join ya." said Selk, a worried expression painted onto his normally emotionless face.
"Cramble! Take these 'ere young rats ter ole Guffrag." said Selk.
"Aye, stoat. Yer the cap'n t'be sure!" said the ferret named Cramble.
"Belay that talk! Guffrag the Grim's the cap'n and yer a mere soldier. So am I, but ole Guffrag's gain ter wanna know about this!" said Selk, brandishing a dagger. The unarmed ferret, fear showing in his eyes, walked off.
"Foller me ratties. Foller me." He called behind him as he went. The ferret led the rats from the crew's quarters onto the main deck. He then pointed to the captain's cabin.
"In thar ye'll find the cap'n. Ye can go by yerselves." said Cramble as he scurried back below decks. The three rats nervously knocked on the door of the captain's cabin. The door immediately opened, and a skinny, wily looking, rat stood in the doorway.
"Salsh! What er ye doin' in that thar cabin? Tis fer the cap'n." said Dargoll, again, it was a foolish question. Salsh replied hotly and quickly.
"Was 'elpin the cap'n with strategies and plottin our course. Duzzent concern yew small fry, yer just a tracker." The three rats were all afraid of Salsh, and they hurriedly walked by him and into Guffrag's presence. Guffrag the Grim was a tremendous sight. He was a huge, burly, strong, middle aged, pine marten. He held in his right paw a huge, long, sword. He wore a green cape with no hood. He had a sky blue sack vest and many daggers lay in his dark green belt. He had many fangs sticking out of his mouth.
"Wadda yer want, rats?" he asked the three young rats. The three related the story about the cloaked figure, and Riblint's death.
"So you mean to tell me, that you found what I sent you out for, but you didn't bring him back. You didn't bring the one who I stole this sword from, the one with the score of mice, and his beautiful ferret wife, and his young ferretbabe? You mean to tell me that you didn't bring back the one that insulted me when I killed the mouse leader?" said Guffrag, his voice increasing as he spoke. The three rats cringed. The two males began weeping with terror and they curled into a ball, but not Frinal. She stared the pine marten in the eye.
"Yes, we mean to tell you that." she said coldly. The pine marten sighed and sat down.
"GEDDOUTTAMYSIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" he shouted at the rats. The two males ran like the wind out of the room and into the crew quarters. The female slowly walked out of the room.
Kimblo the mouse bowed over the dead body of his father, Bergun. He had sworn revenge on the evil pine marten for slaying him. He and his band of twenty mice, all carrying staves and rapiers, were going to hunt for the pine marten, and his evil crew. They were planning to slay every last beast. Burglewife, the beautiful weaselmaid, was trying to talk some sense into Kimblo.
"Now, young Kimblo, my husband has gone after them already. You've nay need ta fret. He'll get yer revenge for you."
"No, Burglewife, I must get my own revenge. I will set off within the hour. Do not try to stop me" He answered. The weaselmaid was confident that her husband would get the evil vermin long before Kimblo could even find them, but she let the mice go, for she knew she had no authority over them and they were a roving band, met by her husband, during his travels. They set off in the morning, as she was tending to her young son. The band of mice made for the way the pine marten had gone. They had been traveling for a long while, when Reddle called out to Kimblo.
"Kimblo! There's a vole over there!" He called.
"Where is it matey?" asked the young mouse.
"West-ward. Towards that large forest." said Reddle. The mice started heading towards the vole. The little fellow ran away, towards a column of smoke.
Derble, the vole saw many mice coming after him. He being skittish, ran away towards the rest of his band. Nurglo was the leader, he was a disagreeable vole, but he was still their beloved leader. As Derble ran he was met by Reoll. Reoll was a captain in the band of voles.
"What is the problem Derble?" he asked.
"Band of mice, sir. They be coming!" said Derble, hurriedly.
"I'll alert Nurglo." said Reoll. The vole captain then ran off towards a tent, the only tent in the campsite. Nurglo was inside, sleeping.
"Sir! Band of mice!"
"Mice ain't vermin. I'll go see what they wants." said Nurglo, slightly annoyed at being waken up. The vole band, numbering about twenty to forty, headed east-ward, towards Kimblo and his mice. The two met at a small group of trees, numbering about three or four.
"Whadda ya want, mice?" asked Nurglo.
"We are here to retrieve Martin the Warrior's sword from Guffrag the Grim and revenge my father's death!" said Kimblo.
"Guffrag the Grim? He raided my band and killed my brother, wife, and son. I was just hunting for him when I met you. Shall we hunt together?" asked Nurglo.
"Yes, your numbers will help us defeat the evil vermin." said Kimblo. The two bands then formed one and they set off on the trail of the evil vermin.
The stoat sat in the cabin of his ship, drinking lots of rum. He was half asleep and half drunk, sitting on a barrel leaning against of pyramid of other barrels and he was moaning, and groaning. He drunk more rum and lay still. He then came to, and began calling.
"Slorgg, Slorgg, Slorgg! C'mere matey, I've gotta use the pork hammer on ya..." he trailed off his sentence. The rat came running anyway.
"Aye Cap'n Crummer? Ah think yer drunk again sir." He said, as he lead the stoat to his room.
"Don' worry Cap'n, Mr. Krattag's steering." said Slorgg, as the drunken stoat began to moan about the steering wheel. But when Crummer heard Slorgg say that Krattag was steering he jumped up! He was no longer drunk.
"Krattag? But 'e's bloind!" said Crummer, as he kicked the rat aside and ran up to the wheel. But just then, the ship crashed into rocks and Crummer flew backwards and landed on a dagger. The dagger pierced his thigh and he began crying and blubbering like a baby.
"Oh! Ringback! Slorgg! Krattag! 'Elp me shipmates! Waaaahhhh!!! Waahahahhhh!!!!" He screamed, as the two rats and another stoat came running, however Krattag, being blind, ran the wrong way and crashed into more rum barrels. The other rat, Slorgg, and Ringback the stoat helped Crummer into his cabin.
"Hey, mates, come inter mah cabin wit me and we'll talk an' tell stories togedder." Said Crummer, as warmly as he could as Krattag crashed down the stairs and onto the deck.
"Somebeast 'elp thart idjit." said Crummer. The ship that belonged to the four comical beasts was in terrible shape. It was a small sloop, with many holes that water constantly splashed in, and It was rotting, and old. The tar was peeling off leaving small holes and rotting old wood. The name, which was "Scummy Seadog", was half peeled off and all it said was "Scu Se dog". It had a lot of rum, stored all over the place in barrels, stacked up below decks, and rolling around on the main deck. The ship had recently crashed into rocks, due to Krattag's bad steering, and now had a huge hole in the front of the ship, and the jib had fallen off.
Guffrag's ship had just set sail. Land was still visible from behind the ship. Abakk, the lookout, was staring straight ahead, not back near the land. That was a shame, for if he was he would be able to see Kimblo heading towards a ship wrecked on some rocks. Guffrag stood on the main deck, staggering about and sneering. He made an angry, evil-looking, face at anyone he looked at. He held the sword of Martin the Warrior in his right paw. A skinny, whiny looking rat approached him.
"Cap'n, I seen a mouse an' some voles. They be comin' fer us inna ship." The rat said. Guffrag stopped walking about and stared at him.
"Sorral, are you sure of this? If you are lying, you are also dying." Said Guffrag. The rat began to tremble.
"If they ain't a-comin' then I ain't a rat sir." said Sorral.
"You're right, Sorral. If they aren't coming then you are a deadbeast, not a rat." said Guffrag. Sorral gulped.
"Where is this ship, Sorral?" asked Guffrag. The rat led Guffrag to the back of the ship. Then he pointed.
"Roight thar sir. Ain't et a-comin' fer us?" said Sorral.
"Coming for us? That rust-bucket? That ship will sink without me interfering!" said Guffrag. The rat gulped, and started running for the cabins. Guffrag turned, and sniffed. He didn't like Sorral.
Kimblo and Nurglo quickly found a wrecked ship what had washed up ashore. It's name read "Scu Se dog". The mice and voles quickly hopped aboard. They heard voices from the captain's cabin. It was storytelling! They were astonished. Were they in the company of a goodbeast? They went to the cabin and knocked on the door.
"Wha? I didn't kner we 'ad mer crewmembers, cap'n!" said Slorgg.
"We don't. They'm be vis'ters. Mind yer manners now an' don' be an idjit, you liss'nin', Krattag?" said Crummer, as he opened the door. A mice quickly laid Crummer out flat, with a staff. The others screamed in terror and tried to climb the wall. Krattag tripped over Crummer, waking him up. Krattag fell and went unconscious. Crummer grabbed his rusty, old, cutlass and waved it.
"Stay away from us ye seascum an' pirates! We're trained warryers and we ain't afraid o' nobeast!" He said in a gruff, fake, voice.
"We are no pirates, that is what we though of you! What is your name, stoat." said Kimblo.
"Crummer, but we ain't no pirates either. Just 'appy sailors, goin' aboot our bizzness when ye comes along." Said Crummer.
"Not pirates? Then maybe you kin 'elp us! We need a ship ter chase Guffrag the Grim, an' evil pine marten. Can we come as passengers to yours?" asked Reddle, the first officer of Kimblo's band.
"Sure ye kin, messmates. Ringback's the udder stoat, 'e'll show yers ter far quarters. Slorgg is the sensible rat, an' Krattag is the idjit rat." Crummer said.
An old, tough-looking rat, Abakk, stormed into Guffrag's quarters.
"Da shoopid stoat, Selk. 'E's fightin' wit Cramble agin." He said.
"Why didn't ye knock beffar openin' tha door?" asked Guffrag, eyeing the rat.
"'Cause ye didn' ask me ter, tha's why!" said Abakk "Any'ays, ah'll be off ner."
"Oi dedn't say ye coul' leave!" Shouted Guffrag.
"Ye didn' 'ave ter, Ah kin leave wins I want ter." Said Abakk. The rat knew Guffrag wouldn't slay him for is disobedience. He was far too valuable as a fighter. Guffrag left the quarters, and, brandishing the sword of martin, headed towards the stoat and the ferret, who were reported fighting. He found Selk, but Cramble was no where to be seen.
"Wit's goin' on? Where's Cramble?" Asked Guffrag.
"Cramble, hah! 'E's dead! Oi killed 'em meself, 'twas disobeyin' orders!" said Selk.
"I don't see a body, stoat!" Said Guffrag, menacingly.
"Thart's 'cause I pushed him o'er boards, 'e can't swim." Said Selk, chuckling to himself.
"Oi dedn't order ye ter kill 'em!" Said Guffrag.
"Well, ye didn't say ah couldn't!" Said Selk. Guffrag found he had lost the argument, so he out the stoat on watcher duty, and went back into his cabin.
The searat captain Bladefang strode the decks of his ship. He and his searat crew were stuck in a storm. They were following a large ship when the storm fell upon them.
"Deadflank! Get yer two friends an yerself t'furl th'sails! We can't 'ave 'em blowin' in this wind!" Bladefang shouted. The rat Deadflank, a short, stout fellow, was on the move. He had an eyepatch and he was missing his left ear.
"Slashrag! Fishtooth! Cap'n says yer t'elp mah furl th'sails!" He shouted over the rain and wind. Fishtooth, a tall, sly rat, and Slashrag, a midget, almost deaf rat (due to his right ear being missing and half of his left) came bounding up. The two rats (who acted like Deadflank's personal servants or lackeys) obliged, although Fishtooth began complaining.
"But et's cold up thar, ah'll freeze me tail off!" He whined.
"Would ye rather 'ave yer tail or yer 'ead?" asked Deadflank. Fishtooth quieted down.
"Grimneck! Git in me quarters! We've got work t'do." Said Bladefang, his first mate following him Grimneck was a tall, strong rat. He was bulky, but no match for Bladefang. The captain was the toughest of all searats.
Griner the slave-driver on the ship Mudrigget whipped and slashed at the slaves. They were a pitiful lot, all dressed in rags and they all had long whipscars on their backs.
"Faster yew lazy lot! Cap'n Bladefang's in 'is quar'ers, but et doesn't mean ye kin slack! Row, yew snotnosed liddle scum! I dunno why yer still livin' a weak lot like yew, mayhap you'll die if'n ah whip ye a few 'undred more times!" Griner shouted. He was a skinny, and shortish searat, with earrings and a trusty knife in his leather belt at all times. He was always grinning, an ugly sight. He had black teeth, and they were very sharp. He was also ugly, and very ugly at that. Then Bladefang kicked the cabin doors open.
"Griner! Me'n Grimneck 'ere decided t'beach this ship an' wait th'storm out! Ah want yer t'tell Ripleg! 'E'll get us t'the beach!" He said.
"Aye, cap'n. Yew slaves, keep up a good pace while ah'm gone, or ye'll be the next food ah 'ave." Said Griner. Then the ugly rat walked up to the helm, where Ripleg was steering. Ripleg was a fat, and tough rat. He was the steersrat of the Mudrigget and he was very dark brown. His ears were tattered, and he owned a large, rusty and notched cutlass.
"Beach the ship, cap'n's orders." Said Griner. Griner didn't like Ripleg. He thought of him as an idiot, and a blunderer. Ripleg shared these feelings for Griner, and he thought of the slave-driver as a weakling and a midget.
"Aye. Twas already doin' et." He said quietly.
Kimblo lay in his hammock, fast asleep. He was dreaming of a red sandstone building. There were four walls, all very tall. Inside the walls was an orchard and a pond. There was a large building in the center of the lawns. It had a great hall, a kitchen, a dormitory, and an infirmary. It also had an attic. In great hall was a tapestry, and a mouse was depicted on it. He was a warrior mouse, in huge armour with a large battlesword. All manner of vermin were fleeing from him. He spoke.
"Kimblo, son of Bergun, your father was true.
Go and avenge him, it is what you must do.
Bergun father of Kimblo, descendant of Matthias,
He was the one, which you shall die as.
Seek the four scum. The four vermin. The four killers.
Defeat them. Kill them. See what it delivers?
My sword. Great sword. Take it back for me!
Bring it to redwall and many will see.
Warrior Kimblo, and his tribe.
Born at Redwall. Live there at all times." Said he. Kimblo felt safe and wonderful in his presence. The warrior mouse turned and began to walk away, he went deeper and deeper into his tapestry.
"No... come... back!" Kimblo managed, then fog enveloped the warrior mouse. Kimblo was alone, pondering what the riddle ment. He then woke up.
Crummer, Slorgg, Krattag, and Ringback slept peacefully in the captain's cabin. Then the door shot open. They woke up and Crummer grabbed a cutlass. Slorgg and Ringback hid behind Crummer, and Krattag jumped up, and crashed into some barrels. He was completely senseless. There was a figure in the doorway. He was in a black cloak, completely covered. The only thing showing was his paws and the tip of his nose.
"Stay back! Ye kin't 'arm our crew! Ah'm Cap'n Crummer th'warryer!" The stoat shouted, trying to scare off the figure. The cloaked figure lunged, and Crummer stabbed it in the side. It jumped back, clutching it's wound. Ringback drew a dagger and jumped onto it's back.
"Get away from our cap'n!" He shouted. He then stabbed down through it's shoulder. the figure staggered, then it threw Ringback off and leaped through a broken window, straight overboard.
"Wha' was tha'?" Asked an astonished Slorgg.