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Karina of the River - chapter 2

All right, here's more! Omgoodness I wrote this like 2 years ago! Memories!

2

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Hodd the hare was at his wit’s end, he could not find those dibbuns anywhere! Somewhere in his memory he vaguely remembered promising them that he would take them to pick berries in Mossflower. He knew he was a little late…but shouldn’t they have waited? He was told by Brother Neff that they had gone to play in the strawberry patch. The skinny hare marched over to them, and, placing his paws on his hips, barked out, “Confound it all! You got all nasty with the blinkin’ strawberries and now you’re goin’ to have to go ta Sister Daisy for a bally bath! All right little sah’s, up and at ‘em wot, steady in the ranks there, be brave…face Sister Daisy with confidence!” “We didna need a bath Mista Hodd! We good little dibbuns, aren’t we?” Mip the dormouse said stoutly. “You don’t need a bath eh? Well I’ll say you jolly well need it! Go on, up to the blinkin’ dormitories!” Hodd replied with gusto. “Please zurr, ‘ave moircy, we didn’t mean to do anythin’ bad, we surpintly didn’t, boi okey!” Dahlia exclaimed. Behind Hodd’s bossy tone, he really had a soft heart. “All right laddie bucks! I’ll give you this bally chance, cummon, we’ll go to the flippin’ berry tree’s in Mossflowa! Let’s go!” The dibbuns screamed with delight as they followed the odd Hodd the hare.

Deep in Mossflower wood there was a dark, dank cave where lived five score vermin consisting of stoats, foxes, weasels, and rats with their leader Masuta the evil weasel. Nobody knew the last name of Masuta, the dangerous weasel revealed it to no one. There were rumors everywhere that Masuta had a goodbeasts last name, or something of the like, but the truth was, Masuta reveled in secrecy. There was nothing wrong with his last name, nothing at all. He loved having beasts guess and him having the satisfaction of them guessing wrong. For he was one of the most secretive vermin ever born. He was chosen as the leader of the tribe by self, everyone knew no beast could challenge him, they would be dead before they had a chance to strike at the tall and strong weasel. Masuta had one purpose in life, to kill the beast who killed his son, his heir to his captaincy.

Now, Masuta in no way loved his son. The only reason he wanted revenge on the killer was because he wanted someone to become his heir—to keep on the legend of the weasels. If he didn’t have a son, Masuta would die and then somebody else in the tribe would take over the clan (Masuta could not bear to think about it!)! Those were Masuta’s reasons for vengeance. Nothing about love or devotion; only hatred and selfishness.

He knew that the killer lived in Redwall Abbey, a red-sandstone building with a bunch of bumbling old woodlanders. But there was one thing Masuta was not sure of…how did Redwall overcome all of their enemies? They were nothing, but they managed to stay safe and happy. Masuta did not trust the talents of other beasts beside himself and therefore assumed that there was a magic of some kind in the place. If he had not thought that, the weasel would have marched over to Redwall Abbey the day after his son was killed by that terrible warrior! But no, Masuta knew of the dangers and so he hid in the cave until he could rally enough vermin to conquer Redwall Abbey and kill the destroyer of his son. And who knows? Perhaps he could have Redwall Abbey as his domain and not have to roam to and fro seeking shelter and plunder! Masuta had it all planned out, and it was almost time to strike…

That morning Masuta’s clan of vermin, were fighting over what to do with their captive squirrel they had caught not more than an hour ago. The poor young squirrel had to not be much older than a dibbun and was quivering in fright. “Harrharrharr! Let’s cook ‘im in the stew! Blodd, get over here and hang dis squirrel on the tree for the time bein’, here,” Greshnor the stoat threw Blodd a rope. “Tie ‘im up wi’ this.” Blodd looked at Greshnor and caught the rope. “Got it, heeeheeeheee!” “Wot’s wrong w’ yew, dumb stoat?” Blood shook in convulsions of laughter. “Hawhawhaw! ‘Ere comes Cap’n Masuta! Better watch out Greshnor, make sure ‘e ‘as no reason to git mad at ya! Heeheeeheeehee!” Greshnor growled at the rat, he had recently been in trouble with their weasel captain lately, but that had no reason for Blodd to talk about it! Trying to restrain his anger so the chief wouldn’t get mad at him, Greshnor just tried to be satisfied with a scowl. Masuta missed nothing, turning to the tall stoat he barked, “What a coward--evil, strong vermin would rush on Blodd and attack him! That’s what I would do…” he puffed up his body and tried to look evil and strong, “and that’s why I’m very disappointed with you Greshnor. You are too gentle and I don’t like it!” “Sorra chief…I thought I shoul’n’t make a commotion…with…the…” Greshnor’s voice trailed off as Masuta stared him down. “Don’t make excuses, all right, how about you go make breakfast…if I see anything more…pleasant about you, stoat, I’ll punish you before you can say ‘Eat Hares!’” Masuta said dangerously. “Yeah chief, I’m goin’ to it. Yis sir. I’m on the job. Jus’ watch me.” Greshnor replied. “DO IT!” Greshnor waddled off, his fat rear-end bouncing behind him.

After about an hour or so, the dibbuns came back from berry picking and rushed to the kitchen to hand the berries they had picked over to Friar Schnouzer for him to bake into pies. “Friar Thnouzer, we’s wantin’ to give you yummy berries to cook uth’nth a pie, could you do that for uth’nth?” Ronny asked, giving up his basket of berries. “Yes sir, I cer’ainly will try! It should be ready in abou’ an hour, come back then for some fresh pie!” the kindly Friar replied. “Thank ‘ee zurr, we vurry much appreciote it, ho aye!” Dahlia said. “All right, now go along an’ play…where’s odd Hodd the hare got to?” Rosemary the mousemaid piped up, “He wents to da dormitari-dormiaot-oh how do you say it Friar Schnouzer?” The Friar stroked the mousemaid’s fur fondly, “Dormitories, Rosemary.” “Okay, now we’s go runnin’ and play, like you said so!” Rosemary said happily.

It was afternoon teatime; Brother Neff was searching for Karina on the Abbey Grounds, wanting to ask her if she knew what was wrong with Mother Abbess. After a few minutes search, he found her by the Abbey Pond, staring into the water. “Kay…I needed to ask you a question…” The pretty ottermaid looked up at Brother Neff with her great blue eyes, “Hello, Brother. Feel free to ask any questions, sir.” The Brother of Redwall began fiddling with the tie on his green habit. “It’s, er, about the Abbess. She seems to have…well, she is acting like there is something wrong.” Kayina stared at the Brother, her serious eyes piercing his. “Yes, I do, but I think it’s her secret to reveal, not mine to tell. If you want to know, you can ask her, sir, I’m not trying to be frustrating, sir, but I just feel she should tell it.” “You’re right, you know. But I admit, I don’t know where she went.” “She left for some peace and quiet by the beech tree in Mossflower. You know where it is, do you not?” “Yes, I know where it is. Thank you.” And with that, the Brother left.

It was a half an hour trek before Brother Neff reached the beech tree deep in Mossflower. The beech tree was tall and stately, a perfect place of rest. Bees buzzed around the flowers in a nearby flower patch, and everything was completely still. Everyone knew it was the Abbess’s special place, therefore it was not to be disturbed, but Brother Neff could not consume his curiosity and concern. The Abbess was there, as Karina said. She was munching on a cheese and onion pasty and drinking strawberry fizz, specially made by Friar Schnouzer. “Abbess Siena?” the Brother said a little hesitantly. “Oh, Brother Neff, I didn’t see you coming. Hello.” Seeing that the Abbess was not unhappy by his coming, Brother Neff pressed on. “Well, I was wondering if you were…all right. You have been acting sad lately, and I could not help but wonder what was wrong.” The Abbess felt a tear form in her eyes, “Oh, Brother, forgive me. I didn’t mean—” but suddenly the Abbess’s speech was halted as she went into fits of sobbing. Brother Neff looked a little awkwardly at the Abbess, but tried to comfort her. “S’okay, Mother Abbess. Tell me, what is wrong?” The Abbess tried to speak, but couldn’t get the words out. After a few more moments, she tried again, and this time was able to speak. “There is something troubling me, yes, I admit it…I have had dreams…” and Abbess Siena repeated the same tale she told Karina the night before… ‘Forgetting’ again not to tell one awful part. After it was finished, Brother Neff looked desperate. Even though it was only a dream, the tale struck fear deep inside him. “If he comes, we will fight him, or we will die trying!” He said bravely. “But…Brother, our Abbey is not prepared to fight! “Nevertheless, we will be prepared.” “Y-yes…” the Abbess stuttered fearfully. “Now, how about we go back to Redwall, it looks like rain.” Brother Neff said. Abbess Siena slowly packed up her picnic lunch and took the helping hand that Brother Neff offered. “Thank you, Brother.” The two life-long friends slowly made their way back to their home, nobody spoke; they were too caught up in their thoughts.

Back at the vermin cave, Masuta was in his private lair hidden in the back, thinking. How would he attack the Abbey? He wanted to rule the Abbey, but, if he had to, he could let that thought go and focus only on vengeance. He remembered the day when that warrior ottermaid came to the cave by accident. Masuta’s son, Zenneke*, had rushed out to defend their cave but the ottermaid took her heavy book and smashed it on Zenneke’s one weak spot, his right arm, which had been broken three seasons before during a war with the GUOSIM (Guerilla Union Of Shrews In Mossflower). It was almost healed but the ottermaid’s book did it, it broke his arm so badly that Zenneke died the next day. Masuta would never forgive her. But how would he kill that born warrior living inside the magic walls of Redwall Abbey? Then…it came to him…why not? Why couldn’t he just ask the Abbot or Abbess…whoever was there, to come out with that ottermaid; no weapons, no anything. He himself would have a dagger hidden inside his clothing, but how would those country bumpkins know? Except…there was that ottermaid…she might know…but it was worth a try, wasn’t it? It was simple…and easy! Exactly what he was looking for. When would be the best time to strike? He still had a few things to work through with his army-but why would he need an army? He supposed he would have them just in case something went wrong. A week should probably do, and then it would be time…

  • Pronounced-Zehnehkey


After the hour was over, the dibbuns came back for their share of the berry pies. “Boi okey, are they’m ready Frioar Schnouzer?” Dahlia asked. “Yes they are. I have a raspberry and a blueberry pie for ya!” They hurriedly dug into the pies when all of a sudden Hodd the hare burst in. “Ah! I see I’m just in time laddie buck! Would ya mind if I dug in wi’ ya chappies? I won’t take more than a flippin’ smidgeon!” he then adopted a sad face, “Ya wouldn’t mind sharin’ a bite of your tuck with a poor starvin’ hare?” Both the dibbuns and Friar Schnouzer sighed heavily. “Do we have to?” Silla the dibbun hedgehog asked dismally. “Hodd, these dibbuns worked to get these berries very long and very hard.” Friar Schnouzer said in a reasonable tone, “Surely you could let ‘em enjoy their well-earned treat!” “But sah, hold on a tick, that is bloomin’ unfair wot wot! I say, who took the blinkin’ dibbuns out for the berry-pickin’? If it weren’t for me, laddie bucks, you wouldn’t have gone to the berry-pickin’ t’all!” Friar Schnouzer, much too Hodd the hare’s surprise, laughed, “I must tell you Hodd, that Sister Mazine had offered t’ take the dibbuns out right after you. If you ha’n’t done it, she would ‘ave.” “Oh…I see. But I did it! She didn’t!” “Hodd, you must listen to reason, for Redwall’s sake.” But odd Hodd still wouldn’t give up his fight to appease his gluttonous stomach. “All right, I’ll just have to take some by force then!” The Friar was appalled by Hodd’s lack of self-control. He tried to hold back the fat hare, but the Friar was too fat himself to stop Hodd. The dibbuns began squeaking in fright. Ronny yelled out, “Get ‘im, Friar Thnouzer, get ‘im!”

The warrior of Redwall at that time was Skipper of Otters; he was a tall, lanky otter with a long and dangerous rudder-like tail. It was the pride of the otter tribe, yes; Skipper’s rudder was the greatest thing about otters since Keels’s great eyes.

Keels had died six seasons ago. He was an incredible otter and had a wonderful gift of seeing every little detail of everything. An amazing tracker was he. He could track down a tribe of crows on a stormy night! It was a terrible and mysterious thing when he died. He was having a night walk along the ramparts with his mate, Tassel. Out of nowhere an arrow took him through the heart, and he fell dead in Tassel’s arms. After that Tassel left the Abbey, never to return. She was too heartbroken to go on with life.

Skipper of Otters could kill anybeast with just one swipe of his heavy tale. He didn’t need to use it much, since it had been peaceful in Mossflower Wood for an exceptionally long time. But he always kept it in perfect shape, just in case. At that time, Skipper was walking through Great Hall, heading for the kitchens. He needed to ask Friar Schnouzer for some roots for poor Valora’s scratches. Valora was a beautiful ottermaid who had lived in Redwall all her life. Her mother, Vinni, had passed away two seasons ago. Secretly, the Skipper loved Valora, but he would not make it known. Though he was strong and valiant, he was also shy. He only would talk to creatures he knew very well, and so he could not let himself tell Valora that he loved her. And so it continued, the Skipper hopelessly in love, but too afraid to say it. Skipper walked through the doorway and was surprised to see a red-faced Friar trying to hold back odd Hodd the hare. He went immediately into action and pulled back Hodd. He quickly stunned him with a slight thwack of his tail and laid the senseless hare onto the kitchen floor. Friar Schnouzer looked relieved. “Thank you Skipper. He was trying to steal the dibbuns pies, and I just couldn’t let him!” he said gratefully. “No need to thank me Friar, just doing my duty.” He said humbly. “Thankee, zurr, t’was gut of ee to come, hurrhurr. You’m thwacked ‘im wi’ da boitom o’ yurr tail, boi okey! Just loik that, hurrhurrhurrhurrr!” Dahlia tried to imitate Skipper, but of course, moles don’t have rudders. “What was it that you come for Skipper? I know you didn’t hear the commotion all the way upstairs in the Infirmary where you were supposed to be!” Friar Schnouzer said. “No I didn’t, Sister Daisy sent me to fetch her some roots for Valora’s scratches. Poor girl, she’s pretty scratched up. Why did the eagle have to pick on her? She’s such an innocent young ‘un.” “Aye, she is.” the Friar paused. “Here’s the roots, and good day to you.” He said to Skipper, who was already running out the door with the roots. Hodd was just beginning to come around. “What ‘it me?” he asked drowsily. “Skipper’s tail, you great glutton, now get out o’ my kitchens!” the Friar said. “Yes, yes, I had the bally idea before, wot.” He slowly crawled out and slammed the door behind him. Friar Schnouzer turned back to the dibbuns, “Now you can eat!” he said. The dibbuns all cheered.

“Lingolsin, come here!” Masuta stepped out of his tent and glanced over the dark cave, searching for his chief rat, second in command. Lingolsin was an extremely smart rat. Masuta was very proud of him and made sure that the other vermin in his crew made sure to honor him, as he well deserved. He came with a candle in hand and bowed before Masuta. “Might’ness. I heard you wanted me.” “Yes, indeed I did. Step into my tent.” “As you wish.” “Halfwit! Fetch me and my second in command some deer meat and wine.” The scrawny stoat appeared from the shadows. “I’ll ‘ring ‘t,” he said. The minute Halfwit came back, Lingolsin and Masuta sat back and began to eat. “The reason I called you, Lingolsin, is because I need you to go on an urgent mission for me.” Masuta began. Lingolsin looked puzzled, “An urgent mission, sir? Captain, is it about that ottermaid again? Surely you can defeat her! She’s just a-” Masuta stopped him mid-sentence. “As I know you were going to say, she is NOT just a innocent woodlander! She has experience! I tell you Lingolsin, that ottermaid is a born warrior!” Lingolsin eyed him suspiciously. “Then why are you sending me to fight her? You want to send me to my death?” “No, you don’t understand. I’ll fight her, but I need a scout, a beast who will find out where the ottermaid is right now, where she likes to go for quiet-time or a rest…who knows, it might be out of Redwall!” While Masuta was saying that, his wife entered the room with their twins, a son and daughter named Mood and Minz. “Are you trying to catch that silly ottermaid again Masuta? Why?” Masuta’s wife, Anyay, said. Masuta startled. “Don’t sneak up on me like that! I’m in the middle of business with Lingolsin, can’t you see?” “Ah, all you do is want revenge…” she sighed. “True, I want my son back, but really, he was a troublesome weasel. All he cared about was himself. Why do you want to go hunt down an ottermaid in the magic walls of Redwall?” “DON’T TALK LIKE THAT ABOUT MY SON! I NEED SOMEONE WHO CAN…CAN KEEP THE LEGEND OF THE WEASELS! MOOD WILL NEVER BE LIKE ZENNEKE!” Masuta roared. “He was my son too.” She said simply. “ARGH!” Masuta dashed toward his wife but she ran out of the room, towing the little ones behind her. “WHERE ARE YOU GOING?” he yelled. “AWAY! AWAY FROM YOU!” she yelled right back. And she was gone. “Captain, you did have another son, and she took him with her.” Lingolsin said. “Mood showed no sign of spunk. Now Zenneke…he was different.” Masuta sighed. “Who will rule in my stead?” “I know not, Captain. But you will find someone.” “Thank you Lingolsin. You may go now. I’ll talk to you about your scout job later.” Lingolsin hurried out, fearing his Captain’s temper rising over the escape of his wife.

Masuta, true to his word, called Lingolsin the next day to come to his private lair. As always, the rat appeared immediately and bowed before his captain. “No need for that, Lingolsin, just come in. I need to talk with you about that job.” “Again Captain?” “Yes, again.” Masuta replied. They once more stepped into the tent. Masuta took his paw and slammed it on the table. “You must leave tonight!” “Tonight Captain! I mean…I need some time to plan…to get ready. But tonight? That really is a bit soon.” “Nothing is too soon. Lingolsin, you must understand, I know you have high hopes to become Captain some day. First you’ll have to learn that no time is too soon for a warlord. Believe me, nothing is too soon for me, Masuta La-” Masuta caught himself right before telling him his last name. The rat smiled. “Masuta La-…hmm…could it be…Masuta Lanice? Lacute? Labeautiful? Lakind?” “Stop it! I’m telling you, if you don’t stop, I’ll…” Masuta took his prize long dagger from his belt. The blade shimmered in the light of the candle. “Lingolsin…this blade has killed many a rat, fox, weasel, and stoat, along with many other goodbeasts. Would you like me to put another rat down on my list of dead?” the weasel really wouldn’t kill Lingolsin, no, he was too much of a help. But he still wanted to…scare him a little bit. Lingolsin nodded, a little frightened. “Yes Captain. I’m sorry Captain…must have gotten carried away. Sorry sir.” “Good, good. Now, are you ready to listen to me?” “Yes, I am.” “All right, I want you to go to this Redwall place, and just find out what’s going on, maybe talk to their beast in charge, Abotsess or Abbest…whatever they call ‘em!” “They are called Abbots and Abbess’s, Captain Masuta.” Lingolsin explained calmly. “Yes, well, anyway, whatever you do, try to find as much as you can about that warrior ottermaid, and then come to me and report, got it scout? Oh-and don’t get yourself killed, is that clear? That ottermaid is very smart and quick. Be on the lookout for her. Be smart and witty. Got it, my scout?” Masuta put a paw on Lingolsin’s shoulder. “Now go!” As quick as a wink, Lingolsin had disappeared from the cave. Masuta was the smartest! Masuta was the best! Masuta could outwit the Redwallers! Masuta would NOT fail!

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