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Outlaws of Mossflower

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OoM cover

Author's Note

I actually made most of the characters for this story before I even really knew about Redwall Wiki. Me and my brother are always being our favorite characters, and so we made some RW characters up for ourselves. We have a hideout down at our creek, (the Moss) that we built specially for being our characters. Then, when I found out that you can write fanfics on this wiki, I decided to write down our adventures as Cherry and Spikes. Thing is, we're always arguing over stuff. Argh.

Dedication

To everybeast on this wiki who has written a fanfic, because you inspired me to write my own. Also for my brother, (who is Spikes), my Dad, (who helped us with our hideout), and of course BJ!

Prologue

Dong sighed and shook his head. "Where are those ruffians? I've looked everywhere for 'em!" His twin sister, Bong, answered "I really have no idea, Dong. I've just noticed that my favorite brooch, the one shaped like a starfish, is missing. I'd stake me rudder they took it! Come on, mate, let's keep lookin' fer them. Have you checked the attics yet?" The big strong otter Bellringers dashed off to continue with their search.

Meanwhile, the creatures in question were sitting on a beam high up in the belltower. The young hedgehog sat up and blew a long sigh of relief. "Whew! That was close! I thought for sure they was gonna see us. This is a great hidin' place, huh, Cherry?" Cherryblossom, a young squirrelmaid with a red cap on, sat up too. "Aye, Spikes. Y'now, when Dong looked up here, I almost fell off the beam! I totally thought he'd seen us! If we were caught we'd be in huge trouble with Mother Amethyst. I got here special bracelet!" She pointed to the pawring on her paw. It was so big she had had to double it up, and it was still too loose. "That's pretty, Cherry!" said Spikes. Those purple beads are big. I like this starfish better though." He held up an orange starfish brooch. " It's a real starfish, but it's dead of course. I grabbed it when Sister Bong took it off to rescue that Dibbun Mikk from the pond.Like it?" Cherry was about to answer when a booming voice rang out.

"Spikes Prink, Cherryblossom, come down. I know you're up there. You two are in big trouble!" Both young creatures held their respective breaths. "And it'll be worse for you if you don't come down this instant!" Cherry called down, trying to keep her voice steady, "Er, alright, comin' down!" Spikes was too scared to speak. As soon as they were down, Badgermum Amethyst seized them both. "Aha! I thought so! My special amethyst pawring and Sister Bong's brooch! You're both on Abbesses Report!"

Spikes wondered what their punishment would be this time. Probably scrubbing pots and pans for a whole season, he thought. Or cleaning the whole Infirmary and Dormitories.

Cherry was thinking, Not Abbesses Report again! This is - what, the... tenth time! We'll prob'ly have to clean Great Hall!

Once they were in the Gatehouse, Mother Amethyst set the thieves down. Abbess Zinnia, Dong, Bong,Brother Nettle, Foremole, Skipper of Otters, Quill the Recorder, and Bungspike Cellarhog were there, all looking very stern and solemn.Cherry and Spikes squirmed uneasily, wondering what their fate would be.

"Where did you find them, Amethyst?" asked Bong.

"They were hiding on a big beam up in the belltower. I thought you and your brother had looked there." said the Badgermum.

Brother Dong looked baffled. "But...what...I...we...we searched it thoroughly! We looked closely up at all the beams and didn't see a thing!" Cherry tried to hide a grin. "That's 'cos we squished ourselves against the beam and pulled in our tails and spikes and paws and everything, and held our breaths."

She winced under Nettle's stern glare. "Silence, young Cherryblossom. Do not speak until you are spoken to. And don't interrupt your elders."

"No need for that, Brother Nettle." Abbess Zinnia said to the squirrel Infirmary Keeper. "And anyway, she didn't really interrupt. What we need to think about right now, is, what are we going to do with these two rascals? I do hate having to punish young ones like this, even if they are theives. Any suggestions, Bungspike? After all, Spikes is your nephew."

The Cellarhog thought for a moment before answering. "Well, er, I knows they did this las' time, but we could 'ave 'em lean out the cellars., We better keep close watch on 'em though, in case they gets thirsty, like las' time." He glared at Spikes, who looked up at the ceiling innocently.

Foremole had a suggestion too. "Burr, we'm cood make they'ms scurb ee ports'n'pans furr foive seasuns! That'd teach they young'uns ee lessing, hurr!"

"They could clean the Gatehouse." said Quill. "Itv sure could use it. Look at all the dust! Every time I move something in here, I start sneezing! That would be a good job for Cherry and Spikes."

The Abbess considered the old vole's words. "Hmm, that could work, marm. Yes, Skipper?"

The otter had been holding up his rudder. "Er, well, marm, this might sound a bit 'arsh to ye, but I think we should banish them from the Abbey." He noticed the shocked look on Zinnia's face. "Not ferever, y'know, but just fer say, two seasons or so. I think by the time they come back, they'll 'ave learned a thing or two."

There was a sort of shocked silence, then Amethyst said,"Why don't you go outside for a minute, Cherry and Spikes. We- need to talk about this." The two young friends went outside. They sat by the Gatehouse door, miserably awaiting their fate.

Awhile later, they were called back in. "Cherry and Spikes-" said Abbess Zinnia, "Oh, I can't do it, Skipper!" She sat down, and the otter chieftain took over.

"Spikes Prink and Cherryblossom, I 'ate to do this, but ?I think ev'rybeast in the Abbey is fed up with yer theivin'. Ye will not be permitted to enter the Abbey for two full seasons. Ye will be given enough food to last ye three days, but after that, yer on yer own. I hope that while yer out there, ye will learn a thing or two, and come back as respectable, honest beasts. Go now, and good fortune go with ye."

As they trudged through Mossflower woods with packs on their backs, Cherry said to Spikes, "Y'know, I don't think bein' an outlaw will be so bad, really. We can do whatever we want! Think of it! Nobeast yellin' at us, don't do this, give that back, no chores to do, we're absolutely free! For two seasons!"

"You're right, Cherry." said Spikes. "I might never go back to Redwall again!"

OoM sunset

Sunset










Chapter 1

A season and a half had passed since Cherry and Spikes had been cast out of Redwall Abbey. They sat by the edge of the River Moss, fishing and singing a song they had made up together.

"We are the outlaws

Of Mossflower,

We don't obey the laws

Of anybeast.

I'm Cherry the squirrel,

I'm free as the breeze,

I like to quarrel,

An' I don't like to say please!

We are the outlaws

Of Mossflower,

We don't obey the laws

Of anybeast.

I've always been Spikes

An' I always hope to be

An' I don't like bein' etten by pikes,

That's all I got to say!

We are the outlaws

Of Mossflower,

We don't obey the laws

Of anybeast!"


"This is the life, eh, Spikes?" said Cherry, for the bazillionth time. "Yeah," said Spikes, recasting his line, "But I just feel kinda...bored, I guess. I wanna go raid some vermin or somethin'"

"Alright," said Cherry, "Let's go find some!"

"What, right now?"

"Yeah, you wanted to, come on!"

After they had dropped their fish off at their hideout, the two young outlaws got on their small raft and headed up the calm river.

"I don't really think we'll find any vermin to plunder, Spikes, we just need somethin' to do." said Cherry. Just a few moments after saying this, she pulled Spikes down.

"Great Seasons, I was wrong! There's two rats right over there! Let's spy on 'em for a bit, then attack them, huh?" she whispered. Spikes nodded.

"Yeah, I'll take the one with the rusty cutlass. Shh...what did that one just say?"

The two rats stopped. "Shh... idja hear dat?" said the bigger one. "Duhh...'ear whut?" said the smaller rat stupidly.

"I t'ought I 'eard talkin' jus' now. Huh, musta been yew. Can't 'ear meself t'ink wid yew yappin' like dat."

"I wusn't yappin', musta been yew. Duh, 'ow far to dis, uh... Red...h'Abbey place t'ing?"

"'ow would I know, idjit?!" replied his impatient fellow scout. "Dat's what we's sent out 'ere ta fin' out, Dungsnout."

Hidden in the bushes, Cherry whispered to Spikes, "They're lookin' for the Abbey! We gotta stop 'em before they find it!" Spikes winked, them called out in a fairly good imitation of Dungsnout's voice,

"Idjit y'self, stump'ead!"


The big rat wheeled on his partner. "Stump'ead, huh? Take dat!"

"Ow! I didn't call ya stump'ead, really, Duggra! Ow!" The two scouts fell to fighting, tooth and claw. Cherry and Spikes giggled mischievously, then Cherry whispered, "Hey, that one said they were sent out. Does that mean there are other vermin behind them and they're all headin' to the abbey?"

"Prob'ly." answered Spikes.

"Come on, Spikes," said Cherry, "Let's see where they're comin' from. Never mind raidin' 'em." They found the vermins' tracks and followed them, heading southwest.

><><

"Uugh," complained Spikes. "We've been following these tracks for HOURS and we haven't found anything!"

"Will you stop that, Spikes? It hasn't been that long. I wonder where we're goin', though. Wait, shh... I just heard voices!" her voice dropped to a whisper. Crouching behind a clump of bushes, Cherry and Spikes peeked out at a huge horde of vermin, camped in a big clearing in the woodlands.

"Woah..." breathed Cherry.

In the middle of the camp, next to a fire, sat a large ferret. He was a fearsome sight, with red and blue swirly tattoos on his face, a chain mail tunic, and a saber across his back. The most noticeable thing about him, though, was his long fangs. They stuck out of his mouth like twin miniature versions of the weapon he carried. They were also what gave him his name.

Saberfang

Saberfang the Terrible

Saberfang the Terrible.

Everybeast south of Mossflower knew and feared his name. But he was in new territory now. He had heard tell of a big red castle somewhere up here. Saberfang mentally rehearsed all he knew about it. They had a magic sword, supposedly. He didn't really believe in magic, but it was worth checking out, he thought. There would be big heaps of treasure, and the castle itself would be a marvelous fort for him. What was it called? Red Abbey or something? Whatever. He would call it something better. And it was all guarded by nothing but a bunch of soft woodlanders? Seriously? This was too good to pass up on. Just - where exactly was it? He wondered.

"Lizrad!" he said sharply. "Where the heck are those scouts I sent out? They've been gone almost all day!" A weasel came up to him and bowed. "I dunno, sir. They should be back soon. Should I send out another one to find 'em, sir?"

"No, we'll end up sending out my entire army. Just-" The warlord broke off as a stone hit him on the tail and another one got him in the head.

"Yeowch!" a few stones had hit Captain Lizrad too, one lodging itself in his ear. "Who threw those stones?!" he yelled. Another rock, a bigger one, hit him in the mouth.

"Yoo hoo, over here, greedyguts!" called a voice from the opposite direction in which the stones were coming. "Get 'er!" shouted Saberfang. The vermin archers reached for their bows, only to find that the strings were all cut. One rat discovered his bow was missing. Saberfang turned to berate his horde.

Ouch

Cherry shooting Saberfang in the bottom XD

"What're you all doing? It's just one cheeky little squirrelmaid! Come on, shoot her - yeoww!" an arrow from Cherry's swiped bow got him right in the bottom.

"Bet you can't catch me! Come on, boys, follow me! Ikesspay! ipesway allay ethay uffstay ouyay ancay! C'm'on, mudfaces!" she swung off through the trees, with the vermin horde chasing her, yelling and shouting angrily, as they had gotten a taste of Spikes' slingstones as well. Cherry led them westward, away from Redwall, to a place she and Spikes knew of. They had been saving this spot for such a moment, and now it was finally time to use it!

She stopped in a tree in a small clearing. This was it! The horde stampeded through the clearing, unaware of the fact that Cherry had stopped there.

Somewhere in the confusion, in the mass of footpaws, somebeast stepped through a rotten log.

Suddenly the shouts of anger turned into screams of pain as a huge cloud of hornets swarmed out of the log. Cherry fitted an arrow to her bow, drew it back, and aimed carefully.

Twang! Crash! A large wasps nest fell from it's branch and onto the heads of the vermin. Cherry jumped out of her tree, ran to the river, and jumped in.

Saberfang had done the same as soon as the first hornets attacked. He was staying underwater for as long as he could, coming up for a quick breath now and then. Other vermin soon followed, screaming in agony.

><><

Back at the vermin camp, Cherry came swinging in from the trees to find the clearing almost completely empty of any weapons and trinkets. Then she saw Spikes waiting for her, with all the loot he could carry and more.

"I got like all of it, Cherry!" he said, high-pawing her.

"Great job, Spikes!" she said, picking up her load. "You got the fun job, swipin' all the stuff, but I had to do the distracting 'cos I'm a squirrel. You were really fast with the sling there too! Looked like we had an entire gang. Come on, let's get this haul a' boodle back home."

><><

Back at their hideout, Cherry and Spikes dumped their booty on the floor and laid down to rest.

"Y'know, Spikes," said Cherry after a bit, "I think we should do somethin' about that horde of vermin. I mean, they're after Redwall, and they're fairly close to it. An' those bees can't keep 'em away forever!" Spikes closed his eyes.

"Naah, I dunno. I mean, we got outlawed from Redwall, so it's not really our business anymore." Cherry sat up.

"I don't care what you say, Mr. Negative-all-the-time-I-don't-care. I don't want any vermin to take over Redwall, even if we aren't going back there. I still care about it and everybeast living in it!" Spikes rolled over.

"Ok, you're right, I guess. But we can't just go up to the Abbey and tell them. They wouldn't listen to us. So what are you gonna do about it?"

Cherry laid back down again.

"I don't know. But I'll think of somethin'! just wait-I will..."


Chapter 2

That night, in her dreams, Cherry saw a mouse in armor, carrying a familiar sword. Martin the Warrior! "Why are you here?" she said, but it did not feel like her own voice.

"Cherry," said Martin, "You must go to the mountain, and seek aid for Redwall. Ask the Badger Lord for help. Saberfang the Terrible cannot be stopped forever by bees. Begin your journey as soon as you wake up, for speed is needed." As he faded away, Cherry tried to follow him, but her footpaws would not move.

The next morning, Cherry woke up, trying to remember her dream. Oh yeah, it was from Martin! It must be really important! she thought. She saw that Spikes was already awake.

"Spikes!"

"Cherry!"

"What?"

"What?"

"You first."

"You first."

They both paused, then said in unison,

"I had a dream from Martin the Warrior!"

They burst out laughing, then Cherry said, "He told me to go to the mountain, and seek help for Redwall from the Badger Lord. He said that Saberfang the Terrible can't be stopped forever by bees."

"Well that's funny," said Spikes. "That's what he said to me too! Is Saberfang the big ferret we saw yesterday?"

"I think so. The one I shot in the butt! Hehehe. I don't think he'll forget that for a while! Wait... maybe that's not good... whatever." she said. "And Martin also said to begin our journey soon's we wake up. So let's go!"

They packed some food and their weapons. As they started out towards the river, Spikes said, "Wait, so where're we going? Salamawotsit, right?"

"I guess," Cherry answered. "I've never heard of any other mountains with Badger Lords, have you? I don't know much about it, except that there's a badger an' a bunch a hares. And maybe dragons. When I read, I mostly read about Bragoon and Saro. So I haven't read much about Salamandastron."

><><

Noses swollen, eyes purple and bruised, Dungsnout and Duggra staggered into the camp to find the rest of the horde sitting around, covered in mud.

"Duh, wot 'appened ta youse guys?" said Dungsnout.

"I might ask ya da same question."

Captain Lizrad, (covered in mud as well) grabbed them both and brought them before Saberfang, who was sitting gingerly on his folded-up cloak. His behind was smarting from the arrow.

"What happened to you?" He said, out of curiosity at what they could come up with rather than out of concern. The rats glanced at each other, before Duggra said,

"Um, we...uh...ran inta some...big h'otters. Dey...beat us up. Sorry fer the delay, sir." He winced as Saberfang's claws dug cruelly into his shoulder.

"I don't care about some otters, did you find the castle? How far is it? Speak!" Dungsnout answered, as Duggra was in too much pain to talk.

"Duh, 'bout...a day's march ta da..." he thought for a bit. "West. I t'ink." Saberfang released Duggra, wiping his claws off on his tunic.

"Good. All of you get that mud off your fur! You look like a bunch of lazy cocoons! We're heading to the castle RIGHT NOW!"

All the vermin hurriedly scraped the dried mud off their fur, to find that most of the bee stings were gone. Then the horde headed off in the direction Dungsnout had pointed... the direction of Redwall.

><><

At about noon, Cherry and Spikes stopped to eat. As they sat munching the food that they had brought, Cherry noticed a magpie nearby. She held out a piece of her sandwich to it. It hopped nearer and snatched the food from her paw, flying back up into the trees with it. A few seconds later, a whole flock of magpies were standing around Cherry and Spikes, eyeing the food expectantly.

"Why did you have to go and do that?" groaned Spikes.

"I wanted to make friends with it. I had no idea there was a whole flock! Hey, stop that!" she whacked at a bird who was trying to get to the haversack by her. It chattered angrily, then the whole flock attacked!

Cherry whacked around with her empty bow, and Spikes with his club, trying to defend their food. Cherry would have used her dagger, but she did not want to kill any of the birds. The two questers grabbed the haversacks and ran, with the magpies still in pursuit. After a while they had to stop, out of breath.

"Just leave them!" Cherry panted.

"What?!" said Spikes.

"Just leave the haversacks. There's nothing else we can do. There's too many of the dumb birds!" They dropped the food and ran off a little ways farther. They sat down and, frustrated, watched the magpies devour their lunch.

"Hey, mateys, havin' a bit of trouble with the magpies?"

A logboat came into view from around a bend in the river. It was full of spiky-furred shrews and followed by more logboats. One extra tough-looking shrew in the bow of the first boat was the one who had spoken.

"Yeah, they stole our food." Cherry said. "Who are you?"

"I'm Logalog Absalom, and these are the Guosim." said the shrew as he hopped ashore and shook paws with each of them. "You can call me Ab."

"Guosim? Oh, yeah, I've heard of you." said Cherry. "What does it stand for again? Gorilla Underpants Order Some Icky-"

"Guerrilla Union of Shrews in Mossflower." Ab corrected her quickly, looking a little annoyed. "We can give ye some new provisions if you want. Where're ye headed?"

"We're goin' on a quest to Salamandastron," she answered. "I think."

"It's gonna take ye a long time to get there on paw." said Logalog. "Want to come with us? We're not doin' anythin' in particular right now, and water'll get ye there faster."

"Sure!" Cherry said. "C'mon, Spikes!"

Chapter 3

"So now you're headed to Salamandastron to get help, like Martin told you to?" Logalog said. Cherry and Spikes had just finished telling him about what had happened, from when they had been outlawed to when the Guosim had come along.

"Yup," Cherry said, "But I don't really know anything about Salamandastron, let alone how to get there."

"Aw, don't worry about that." Ab said, "We'll take ya there! I been there plenty a times. Lord Regis is an old friend of mine. And we've got some pretty fast boats, if I do say so meself, so it shouldn't take too long." He patted his logboat.

Spikes looked behind at the other logboats. "Speaking of fast, how come it seems like we're way faster than the other boats? They're like waay behind." Ab pointed to a young shrew of about eighteen seasons, who was paddling away, hard and fast.

"It's cause my brother Remus is paddling. Whenever he paddles, the boat he's in gets way ahead, and sometimes he has to stop and wait for the others to catch up. And he can paddle for a couple hours without getting tired."

"Woah," said Spikes. "Wish I could do that! That must be why he has such big muscles! Man..." He flexed his own arm and compared it to Remus's.

><><

A while later, Cherry and Spikes were sitting in the bow of the lead boat, enjoying the scenery, even though they were speeding along. Suddenly the boat rocked, there was a thump, and an ottermaid landed beside them, shaking water all over Cherry, Spikes, and Ab.

"Hey, mateys!" she said cheerily, "Whatcha doin'?" Ab shook her paw heartily.

"Samaria! How's yer dad? We're on our way to Salamandastron, to get help for Redwall."

"Why, what's wrong?" she asked.

"It's about to be attacked by a horde of vermin." Cherry spoke up. "Martin the Warrior came to me in dream and told me to go and get help at Salamandastron."

"Us." Spikes corrected. "He came to us in a dream and told us to get help at Salamandastron."

Cherry rolled her eyes. "Whatever. Anyway, yeah."

"Woah," said Samaria, "Wait, so the vermin aren't quite at Redwall yet?"

"Not as far as we know." Cherry replied.

"I have an idea then." the otter said. "How 'bout if the otter holt goes and helps defend the Abbey, while you guys are getting the Long Patrol? I'm sure my da would love to do it."

"Who is your dad?" Spikes asked.

"Skipper Tadfinn. We haven't had a good battle for a while. Lemme go tell him!"

"Alright, good idea, Samaria!" Ab said. "Go 'head. Oh, and tell your dad I say hi!"

"See ya!" she said, and dove smoothly into the river.

><><

By the next day, the Guosim had made it to the ocean with no major interruptions. Cherry and Spikes stared, never having seen the ocean before.

"Woah," Spikes said, "It's like the sky upside down. With... waves in it..." Standing on the beach, Cherry felt the warm sand under her footpaws.

"Yeah, and with a giant sandbox. This is... epic. Kinda wish I could live here. And it's cool how the fresh river water meets the salty sea water."

"It's called an estuary." Ab said, amused at their reactions.

"It's like nothing we've ever sea'n before." Spikes quipped.

"So, anyway, let's head to Salamandastron." Cherry said, snapping back to the situation at paw.

"Yeah," Ab said, "We'll camp here, since it's getting late, then get up early and head off first thing in the morning."

"Great." said Cherry. "I hate getting up early..."

><><

Amethyst and Zinnia stood on the walltop together, watching the sun rise.

"What a beautiful morning, eh, Zinnia?" the Badger Mother said.

"Yes, I kinda wish it could last forever." said the Abbess. "But-" she was interrupted by a loud knocking on the north wallgate.

"Ahoy in there, anybeast up?" shouted a gruff voice. Amethyst hurried down off the walltop and opened the gate.

"Skipper Tadfinn! What are you doing here so early in the morning? Come on in!" A sleek and tough-looking otter came into the Abbey grounds, followed by his crew.

"Well, my daughter, Samaria, met the Guosim and a couple of young 'uns from here, and they said yore Abbey was about ta be attacked by a horde of vermin. They're goin' to Salamandastron fer help, but we came to hold down the fort meanwhiles." he explained.

"Woah, what?" Zinnia was bewildered. "We're not being attacked by any vermin, at least as far as I know. And who were the two young ones...?"

"Come on in, and sit down." said Amethyst. "And then you can explain."

As they went into the building, they did not realize that just a little ways off, the vermin horde was nearing Redwall.

Chapter 4

Spikes turned around and walked backwards, looking back at his tracks, which went as far as he could see until he couldn't see them at all. Cherry loved the sound of the waves on the beach, and the seagulls overhead.

Cherry, Spikes, Logalog, and Remus had left the camped out logboats at dawn, and they could already see their destination, Salamandastron, in the distance.

"Are we almost there?" asked Cherry, picking up another shell and adding it to her collection, which was getting too large to carry in her paws.

"Still quite a ways to go yet." said Ab. "The mountain may look pretty close, but it's farther than it looks. We should make it there by sometime tomorrow, depending." he looked at Remus, who was way ahead and still going doggedly and untiringly towards the distant mountain. "But he might get there before night." he said dryly. "He's always way in front like that, and won't stop and wait up unless I yell at him. Hey, Spikes, try to stay on the wetter sand. It's easier going."

"Woops."

Walking backwards, Spikes had accidentally strayed off. He tried to correct his course, but tripped and fell on his back into a hollow in the sand. Immediately, there was a loud screeching sound, and the flapping of wings.

Cherry and Ab ran to the hole in the sand, to find Spikes being attacked by a large seagull. Cherry picked up a nearby stick and whacked at the bird until it rolled off, stunned.

"You okay, Spikes?" she asked, helping him up. He had a few scratches.

"Yeah, I'm - ouch - fine. It just scratched me a little."

"Look out!" Ab drew his rapier and slashed at a gull that was coming straight for the back of Cherry's head. Suddenly the air was full of angry gulls, all screeching and pecking at the travelers. Ab was swiping at the birds with his rapier, Cherry with her dagger, and Spikes with his club.

Remus heard the noise and rushed back to help them, drawing his sword and attacking the birds, but there were a lot of them, and they were big. Soon, the four were backed up into waist-deep water, still fighting.

"What do we do now?" asked Cherry. "We can't go much farther back."

"There's too many of them!" Ab said grimly. "We'll either have to swim for it and risk drownin', or go down fightin'!"

><><

Saberfang stared up at the magnificent red sandstone walls, towering up above the path. This was certainly a fortress worthy of his rule, he thought. And it wouldn't be too hard to get, either. He didn't see any sentries or anything. He signaled, and a weasel whammed on the door. He kept doing so, until Abbess Zinnia looked over the walltop. "Yes, what can I do for you?" she asked.

Saberfang started to speak, but the weasel was still hitting the gate with his spear shaft. The ferret whopped him over the head, and he stopped. Saberfang cleared his throat and started again.

"I-" a rat tapped him on the shoulder. "What now?!" he gritted in exasperation. The rat looked sheepish.

"Oh, sorry, it- it can wait 'til later..." Saberfang just shoved him away, muttering, "Idiot." and tried once more.

"I am here to take over possession of your Abbey. If you surrender peacefully and do not fight back, you will not be harmed. What do you say?"

Up on the wall, Amethyst and Tadfinn looked at each other and rolled their eyes, as they crouched below the battlements, one on each side of the Abbess.

"What if we do not surrender?" asked Zinnia, even though she knew the answer already.

"Then I will attack you, until I have conquered this place." answered Saberfang calmly, as if he was telling her his favorite flavor of ice cream.

Zinnia answered without hesitation, "Well, the answer is no. I will never let my Abbey be taken over by a horde of vermin. That is my final answer, and you can do whatever you want, but I am not changing it."

"Alright." said Saberfang. "I gave you a chance, and before I am done here, you will be wishing you had agreed!" he turned and signaled an archer. But Zinnia was ready, and ducked behind the ramparts, the arrow zipping over her head.

"Well, what now?" she asked Skipper Tadfinn.

"Well, if it's a battle he wants, we'll give it to him." he said. "Are all the Dibbuns and old 'uns inside?"

"Yes." answered Amethyst.

"Alright then... archers!"

Down on the path, the vermin watched as archers popped up all along the wall. Both vermin and woodlander archers fired, and the battle began.

Chapter 5

Cherry was up to her stomach in the water, the waves hitting her and completely soaking her. "It's getting really hard to stand up!" said Spikes, a wave nearly knocking him off his feet. Cherry grabbed his paw, helping him back up.

"We might have to swim!" she said.

"Are you able to?" asked Ab.

"Yes, enough." she answered. "Spikes too."

"Well then, we might as well try it."

But just as they were all about to dive into the waves, they heard a shout of "Eulaaliiaaaaa!!!" and the seagulls scattered, screeching in fright. As the feathers cleared, the travelers saw two young hares, about the ages of Cherry and Spikes themselves. They came out of the water, wringing out their clothes.

"Hey, chaps!" sad the older hare. "What're ya doin', swimmin' in your clothes, wot?" she giggled.

"Hey, glad you showed up just then." said Ab. "We were actually about to start swimming."

"Well, you were putting up a jolly good fight there, but yeah, you would prob'ly be gull vittles right now, if those bally birds didn't know that us hares are in charge around here, wot!" she looked at Cherry and Spikes. "Wot ho, who are these chaps?" she shook their paws. "Hey, the name's Sofie, Sofia Duffletrun Sandscut, and this is my brother, Trev."

"Hi." said Cherry. "I'm Cherryblossom, but you can just call me Cherry."

"And I'm Spikes!" announced Spikes. "But you can just call me Spikes!"

"Nice to meetcha!" said Trev. "So watcha doin', anyway?"

"Well, we've gotta get to Salamandastron, to save Redwall, but let's go, we'll explain on the way."

><><

Cherry, Spikes, Ab, and Remus followed the two young hares into Salamandastron. "Woah, this place is totally cool!" said Spikes.

Sofie and Trev led them to the forge room. Sofie knocked on the door.

"Yes?" answered a loud voice.

"Four visitors here sah, can they come in?"

"Of course, just a second." the door soon opened, revealing a large, middle-aged badger with steel-blue eyes. He was clad in a plain tunic and apron. "Ab! Great to see you! And Remus too! And who are these young ones? From Redwall, obviously. Sofie, Trev, you're dismissed." The hares saluted and left, then Ab introduced Cherry and Spikes.

"And so we came here to get help for the Abbey from you." he finished, after explaining.

"I know." said Lord Regis. "That's why I have been preparing to go. I just had to wait until the right moment, which is when you arrive."

"Whaa?" said Cherry, perplexed. "You knew? How?"

Ab elbowed her, muttering, "If you knew how mysterious these Badger Lords are, you wouldn't ask."

"He's right, Cherry." said Regis, "That is not for you to know. Anyway, can I get you guys anything to eat or drink? The Long Patrol needs to prepare to leave."

><><

Squiddy was bored. He was tired of the games Samaria had been playing with him and the other Dibbuns in Cavern Hole. The little squirrel and his best friend, a hedgehog named Hnossa, snuck off and hid under a table. Squiddy lay down, flopped out his tongue, and crossed his big brown eyes. "I'm so boringed I just died." he said.

"Then how's ya talkin'?" giggled Hnossa. She had a very high pitched voice, so high in fact, that everybeast who sat too close to her for a few minutes, complained afterwards about a splitting headache and ringing ears. The Dibbun hedgehog pulled something out from behind her back.

"Look what I gotted." she opened a bundle of gray blanket, revealing a thick short stick, a blue feather, and some arrows. She also brought out a bow separately. Squiddy sat up.

"Ooh, now we can be Cherry an' Spikes!" he said, grabbing the blanket and beginning to tie it around his shoulders. Hnossa grabbed the blanket back from him and shoved the bow into his paws.

"No, no. You is Cherry, 'cause you're a squirrel, an' I'm Spikes, 'cause I'm a hedgehog." Squiddy didn't like this.

"No way! I'm a boy, so I should be Spikes! An' you should be Cherry, 'cause you're the girl. Duhh." The two were so busy arguing, they only managed to notice the sound of footsteps just in time. They quickly threw the blanket cloak over their stash of weapons and sat on it.

Samaria peeked under the table. "Ahoy, whatcha doin' down there, little mateys?" she asked, smiling.

"Oh, uh, we's just... playin'." said Squiddy, looking innocent.

"Okay, good." said Samaria. "For a minute I thought you were arguin'. You weren't, were ye?" They shook their heads, not catching the playfulness in her voice.

"Oh, no, we never argue, we was just playin'." Hnossa said.

"Alright, just makin' sure." Samaria walked off, pretending not to notice as the two Dibbuns slipped out from underneath the table and towards the door.

It was not hard for them to get out, as the two shrewmaids who were supposed to be guarding were arguing fiercely.

Miniature Cherry and Spikes

A miniature Cherry and Spikes

Once they were outside, the little creatures hid behind a bush. "Alright, you can be Spikes." said Hnossa generously, handing Squiddy the blanket and stick. "But you have to be Cherry next time. We'll take turns." She stuck the feather in her headspikes, along with her pink bow, and picked up the bow and arrows. Squiddy tied his cloak on, picked up his club, and they were ready.

The pair of Dibbuns snuck out from behind the cover of their bush, making sure nobeast on the walltop saw them, but the warriors on the wall were too busy fighting the vermin horde to notice anyway. They his behind a tree a little ways off. "Okay, so what th' plan?" whispered Hnossa. Squiddy thought for a moment.

"Let's see, we go to th' likkle wallgate, an' open it. We go out, an'... hmmm... then what? We attack th' bad guys or infiterlate 'em?"

"What's infliteralate?"

"Spyin', silly! At least I think so."

"Okay, then I say we infritterate 'em." said Hnossa.

"Yeah, we do that." said Squiddy, and they continued toward the door.

"Let's see, so we're s'pos'ta open the door, sneak in, an' open the other doors, right?" asked a weasel. "Yeah, but quiet down, ya nitwit, or they'll hear us!" hissed Duggra, whacking him over the head with a loud thunk. This was indeed what Saberfang the Terrible had sent out these five vermin to do. The large rat tried the door.

"Huh, a course it's locked. Barred from th' inside." he peeked through the crack. The Abbey grounds appeared to be pretty much empty. Duggra pulled out his sword and stuck it between the door and the wall, under where the bar was.

Surprise

Illustration by Spikes Prink. He really wanted me to put it on here, so I finally did. ;)

Hnossa and Squiddy were a bit startled to see a sword blade come in through the door crack and start to go up and down, trying to lift the bar. But this gave Hnossa an idea.

"Hey, Squiddy." she whispered, "Those must be vermints, right?" her friend nodded. "So if they come in, we can capture 'em, an' be heroes!" Squiddy looked doubtful.

"I dunno if that would work very well. They prob'ly way bigger than us, I think we should tell somebeast instead." Hnossa's spikes bristled a little.

"Not fair! I let you be Spikes, now we should go with my plan! You always get what you want!" This was not really true, of course, but Squiddy gave in.

"Alright, we capture 'em." he agreed, then added under his breath, "But I still think it not gonna work."

Duggra gave one last hard whack upwards, and finally hit the heavy bar hard enough that it swung upwards and off the door. He opened the door slowly, stepped in, and was suddenly attacked by two little creatures.

Squiddy whacked legs and bottoms with his small club, and Hnossa tried to shoot an arrow, but didn't pull back far enough, and it dropped lamely to the ground in front of a stoat's footpaws. While she was trying to reload, the weasel grabbed her, but then quickly dropped her again, squealing in pain as he made the discovery that hedgehogs tend to have spikes.

When he had recovered from his surprise, Duggra had a new idea. He managed to grab Squiddy, pinning his arms to his sides.

"Get the liddle spike'og!" he said, holding the struggling little squirrel tight.

Samaria had been following and watching the two Dibbuns, but when she saw the vermin, she figured it was time for her to jump in. There was no time to go get help, she knew, so she grabbed her feather decorated, double-ended javelin and charged at the five vermin.

Duggra was planning to capture the little ones, take them out to Saberfang, and then go and open the gates, but a a fierce ottermaid attacking them was a little intimidating, and he was beginning to think that she would mess up his plan. So, he made a change of plans yet again. A rat finally managed to nab Hnossa in such a way that her spikes didn't get him much, though she did shriek shrilly in his ear, and Duggra ordered, "Retreat!"

The vermin made their way outside of the Abbey again, except for Duggra, who was still fighting Samaria. Finally, he got her against the red sandstone wall, and shoved hard on her javelin.

Nobeast on the walltop saw all this happen, and nobeast noticed as the ottermaid slumped to the ground, and Duggra went out, closing the door behind him, and the five creatures disappeared into the woods.



Note

I know I already said this, but in case you didn't see it; Even though I am writing Defenders now, Outlaws is not exactly on hold, I will still be working on it, just not as much. I'm way too stubborn to give up this story now that I've gotten this far. ;P And anyway, Spikes wouldn't like it. ;D

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