The Epitaph of Colonel Procyon
Procyon listened to the loam and underbrush rustling behind him. Slowly, without turning around, he notched an arrow to his bow.
- “Ah noo ‘tis yoo Adhera.” He stated flatly in his wide northern accent. Ssssssssthunk! The mountain hare turned faster than the eye could follow, firing his arrow all in one fluid movement. Adhera stood up from the bushes, wooden training sword in paw.
- “Darn! You get me every time…” the mouse-maid grumbled as she brushed herself off, pulling the foxtail tipped practice arrow off her clothing.
- “We better head bauck.” Procyon decided, shouldering his long-bow over his black tunic. Through the trees and down the path from whence they came, they marched. The sun drifted down below the horizon, and the insects of the night hummed, signaling the end of one day.
- “Where did that daughter of mine get to?” Anglo asked no-one in particular, “I couldn’t find her anywhere!”
- “She went into the woods farther up north.” Betria, Adhera’s mother answered continuing to cut heads of cabbage to boil.
- “Let me geuss. With Procyon, right?”
She dipped her paws in rose water, for she had finished cooking for now.
- “Yes, that’s right.”
- “He better have her back from training before sundown tomorrow, or there’ll be hell to pay.” He muttered as he laid back in his armchair, drifting into slumber, the whole while mumbling something or the other about ‘Procyon’ and ‘That scoundrel Alioth!’ The sounds of Kotir settling down for the night echoed around the hallways of the mighty fortress. Little did the slumbering warriors of Kotir suspect that just outside awaited a very odd sort of enemy indeed.
Rastaban, a black mink, held the position of Fürer among the Phantom Storm Legion. Comparatively unusual for his species, Rastaban possessed excessively lengthy claws and fangs; filed to a turn. He also carried two Pata’s and a Kris dagger (check Wikipedia). He preferred to kill others using more natural weapons, more honorable. However this is not to say that he’s afraid to use weapons! Farthest from in fact.
- ‘After all,’ he grinned wickedly, ‘how is one to be successful without being a little underhanded?’
Rastaban smiled at his plan that had come to him more by accident than strategical genius. He glanced over at the wolf trailing behind the rest of the legion, obviously wary of trouble. Their gaze met, Rastaban revealed his sharpened fangs in a part-smirk-part-grin, Alioth looked away. Rastaban once again smiled at his scheme. His legion marched for three days straight, south, always south. Until they had finally reached their destination, the mighty fortress, Kotir!
Morning dew rolled down heather leaves, reflecting the bright morning sun. The morning painted the sky with the many colors of sunrise. Procyon and Adhera had decided to walk through the night instead of resting, Adhera leading the way and talking the whole time
- "So, how did you get all those scars, anyway?" She inquired, jabbing the air with her wood training sword, "Was it in Epic battle with some life long Enemy!"
- "Ah, now thaut 'tis a story for au long winter night" Procyon replied, a distant look in his eyes.
Adhera peered at him questioningly, but continued to trot backwards. -
- "We have time now!" she pointed out.
- "Ah, said no," he stated firmly,
- "Hmm!" she shrugged, turning around and skipping along the narrow, forest path leading to Kotir.
Procyon readjusted his longbow over his shoulder uncomfortably; he looked around at the surrounding, but not oppressing, forest.
"Et won't beh long now." he murmured more to himself than Adhera.
To his right, Procyon caught a rapid movement among the shadows. Immediately, he was on full alert.
He snuck up behind Adhera and covered her mouth.
- "Dinnae make a sound," he whispered in her ear, "Now listen carefully, and do as ah do."
The two stole into the forest, forsaking the path(note, this is not the same path that in other times goes by Redwall and is large. This is a smaller woodland path) onto which only a few stray beams of light descended upon, managing to drive past the all enveloping ceiling of foliage.
Enif, a weasel, had served most of his young life under Rastaban as a low ranking seeker, a simple tracker. He did not pride himself on his intelligence, he hardly knew the difference between night and day. Even so, Enif did know this. Anyone who failed Rastaban, neglected the right to life.
Enif had been out trailing prey through the woodlands, direct orders from Rastaban himself. Apparently, Rastaban wanted to be fully stocked on supplies before reaching Kotir. So far he had managed to capture a few different kinds of small birds and a baby dormouse. These he had locked up in small cages slung over his back, the wicker clicking together as he walked.
At this particular moment however, he found himself on the verge of something much larger than a few petty birds.
‘Been a while since I tasted a good rabbit!’ he thought to himself, grinning wickedly as he observed Procyon and Adhera walking along the woodland path.
Girtrab, for that was the little Dormouse’s name, followed Enif’s line of sight and spotted the passing duo. Eyes wide, the young one realized Enif’s plan. She strained against her bonds mumbling around the gag tied about her mouth. Enif glared her into silence. He set down the cages, and hid under a particularly thick area of wild angelica. Pulling out a blowgun, he loaded a poison dart made of pine wood into the hollowed out reed. When he looked up, however, his mark could no longer be seen .
“Drat!” he cursed, disappointment evident on his face.
He crawled out of the bushes, hoping to pick up their tracks to follow them. Enif felt a sharp pressure on his neck, and turned to locate the cause.
“Get up.” Procyon, calmly demanded, dagger in hand.
After thoroughly searching him for hidden weapons, Procyon tied Enif’s paws together in a tight knot. It wasn’t until he had concluded interrogating the weasel that he realized the impending danger, biding it’s time to strike Kotir with deadly force. Adhera opened the cage containing Girtrab, the baby dormouse. Procyon walked over to her, brow furrowed in deep thought. She glanced questioningly at him through the corner of her eye.
- “So? What’s the news?” she inquired, doing her best to keep her curiosity in check.
- “ The youngun’ well?” he asked her back, avoiding her question.
- “She’s fine.” Adhera replied quietly, somewhat disappointed, she averted her eyes from Procyon.
Girtrab twirled around, arms extended, in self entertainment. Procyon sighed
“It’s nae cheery news. Best said later, ye ken?” She nodded, not really understanding.
- “So we’ll be on our way then?”
- “Aye, soon enough any way.”
He held a brief unanimated conversation with them after which their cages were unlatched and opened. The birds flew south, to Kotir. Adhera wondered, but didn’t ask, about the birds flying south despite the fact that most birds were flying north this time of the year, spring. Again they went off, the same direction as that of the birds, this time, at a run. The soft light of the forest morning contrasted heavily with the heavy air of an impending humid day.
Enif watched them go remaining still. Upon the two creatures exit, he struggled against his bonds screaming and yelling and mumbling curses through the gag to the dark furred rabbit who stripped him of his pride. He watched, and glared, as he tried to break free, still yelling through the gag around his mouth, at all that transpired. He stopped straining, and instead slumped against the tree, apparently falling asleep.
Whats that smell? This, Enif inquired of himself before losing consciousness.
(enriched text to here, as time goes on it'll be re-edited more)
Procyon and Adhera dashed down the same path upon which they had originally embarked, Procyon sweeping away their tracks, and scent, with a fallen pine branch he found, meanwhile Adhera carried the young dormouse, whom she still had yet to formally meet, on her shoulders as they ran. Originally, Procyon planned on biffing Enif over the head so that he wouldn’t follow them, but before he had a chance to, he noticed a rather pungent smell, faintly, but definitely, wafting on the wind and getting closer. Flitchaye. So instead they ran, ran to avoid a forced sleep. The little dormouse, quite contrary to her rescuers feelings, had a time of it. She giggled with delight, due to the speed of her get away from up on Adhera’s shoulders, she assumed this is what flying felt like. Girtrab popped her head down in front of Adhera’s face,
- “Where we going missy?”
- “Kotir. We’ll be safe there,” Adhera needlessly comforted, already out of breath.
- “Oh. Where that?”
- “Not far!” She paused, “Hey Procyon!”
- “Mind telling me what’s going on exactly?!?”
- “Keep runnin’,” he replied, ridding himself of the tree limb and coming alongside her, “What’s afoot at Kotir, or why are weh runnin’?” Procyon asked, breathing shallowly, as if he were kicking back and enjoying an evening sunset rather than avoiding potentially life threatening danger.
- “Both!” she replied hoarsely between clenched teeth.
Procyon explained the dilemma at Kotir, and the approaching Flitchaye, all the while, Girtrab flapped her arms up and down erratically, attempting to fly.
- “Terrific. Ughhh, I’m exhausted!” Adhera complained, “Do you know how hard it is to run in a dress?!?”
- “Ah kenned that Betria made that special for trainin’, t‘be more functional!”
- “She did!”
- “Well now? What’s the problem?”
- “It’s a dress!”
They continued on in relative silence for the remainder of the trip, both intent on hastening to Kotir, Girtrab entertaining the thought that she was locked in a mortally posthaste boat race that she dominated in her oddly mouse-like boat.
Abruptly, Procyon halted next to a considerably sizable oak tree that appeared to have seen better days than today. This tree was of the sort which never entirely dies, but doesn’t live on into eternity, it would be impossible for it to die entirely while so much life teemed within it through day and past the night. Families of insects creeped beneath the bark, which in and of itself lived in he form of mosses and lichens of all colors supple green lichens, spongy green and red moss, tougher dark colored moss, they all reside upon the bark of this old tree. Adhera followed suit and discontinued her breakneck run.
Heavy moisture filled air, flowing through the almost mystical forest in currents, passing through the few beams of light managing to penetrate the dense canopy of trees. The sunlight streaming through the practically tangible air presented itself as a majestic golden yellow façade, exhibiting warmth but giving nothing but crushed hopes as a quite inadequate substitute.
Adhera’s eye strayed from Procyon to the bark of the tree. She realized that a message or code of some sort was engraved into the surface, just about entirely covered by moss. She wiped away the soft moss, revealing the engraving clearly and in it’s entirety.
- “What does it say Procyon?” Procyon no longer stood in his previous spot but rather behind her now following the ground apparently looking for something.
- (I have a pisture of it to put here, but it's at home right now. It'll be up this evening)
- “As, yah ken see et is translated in ah few different tongues. The first says, “Tunna,” the secund is read from rite tae left, “Tuninha,” the third says, “Tunnel.”
- “Why do the first two translate a little differently?”
- “Noo one said moles weer scholars.”
- “Ah, I see now. So where’s this tunnel anyway? And why does it matter, shouldn’t we keeping going on to Kotir?” She inquired of him slightly annoyed.
Procyon turned his head around at her, “D’ye nay recognize wher ye stand? Kotir lies just ova the hill here” Procyon picked up a stick, eyeing it up and down, sizing it up. He continued on speaking whilst he poked around the base of the tree with the stick, “Ef this Rastaban fellow controls the Kotir, theen et makes logicaul sense thaut he’ll hauve set oop a guard. Correct?”
- “Ah, so we’ll sneak in a back way?”
- “Right,” he answered. The twig sunk into the moist, earthy ground. Promptly, Procyon lifted a decent sized rock. He hurled the rock directly on top of where the twig once stood. Dust filled the air, so thickly that your very paw before you would disappear. Once the floating dust moats cleared, the entrance to a cramped tunnel made itself visible.
- “The moles made the tunnel aus a way oov ascape before yoo aund ah wer born. Your father told me aboot et, never thaut Ah’d use et too get en,” Procyon crawled through the tiny entrance.
- “This is going to be bad,” Adhera commented, appearing slightly disgusted at the thought of crawling through an ancient bug infested tunnel. She put Girtrab in front of her, then crawled in as well. The sun sank beneath the horizon, it’s light dampened but not extinguished as night began to creep over the eastern sky whilst the last rays of purple and pink light playfully danced along the undersides of clouds, competing for the last moments of day, before the stars and moon would dominate the eloquent heavens above.
Four Days earlier
Alioth, one of the few remaining wolves of the North Canis Tribe, found himself contemplating his sanity in this mission of his to find his long time friend. Alioth shook the thought from his mind and just concentrated on breathing steadily as he trotted through the forest, the chain around his neck rattling in time with the falling of each paw, the crimson tattoos of his tribe clinging to his fur as it waved in the self made breeze of running.