Royal House Of Riftgard- Part One- King Sarengo's Triumph
This is dedicated to Shogg of Riftgard, who was slain by the evil adder. Rest in peace, my dear mate, for yore name lives on, not only in Kroova's heart, but in all yore fellow otter's hearts. Here is a account of yore life, matey, up to yore legacy in Triss.
On a barren isle in the middle of nowhere but water, an otter and her son sat together in a warm, homely kitchen. The young otterbabe, a male, tugged at his mother's apron impatiently. “Mumma! Snowah be's greatry 'ungered!”
Sleeve Wavedog, for that was the otterwife's name, shook her head at her hungry son. “No sah, Snowah. Not 'til yore pa Kroova get's 'ere!”
Kroova, a big, muscular otter, chose that moment to burst through the kitchen doors of the once-mighty Riftgard Fortress.
Snowah smiled cheekily at his mother. “Hoho, my pa's be's 'ome naow, we 'ave zooper, yah?”
Kroova proudly answered his son, barely concealing a grin. “O' course, son!”
After supper, Kroova, Sleeve, and Snowah Wavedog sat together in the gathering room of Riftgard, each in their own armchair, watching the dancing flames climb higher and higher. Outside a storm, which had driven Kroova inside, raged to itself, but the otters were perfectly safe. Chilly, yes, but safe. Lightning flashed in the windows and the thunder boomed, but the flames danced on, promising warmth and safety for the night.
Snowah turned to look at his mother. “Tell Snowah 'tory 'bout 'is pace!”
Kroova sighed, though he knew that he shouldn't intervene with his son and wife's conversation. “Tain't much more t' tell ye, mate! Ye've heard all yore ma's tales, an' I dunno the least 'bout this fortress. I was born near Salamandastron, remember? My ole pals Shogg and Trisscar Swordmaid tol' me 'bout here.”
But Sleeve got up and went into an ajoining room- the study. She came back with an enormous book, entitled The History of Riftgard Fortress- King Sarengo.
“Ees dis de 'tory?”
Sleeve nodded and opened the book. Her answer was perfectly clear, beginning with the first page.
This is the official diary of King Sarengo of Riftgard Fortress on Riftgard Isle. NO SNOOPING UNDER PENALTY OF DEATH!!! NO JOKE!!! It's really rude, and I have my PERSONAL THOUGHTS in here. As well as my exploits. SO IT'S PRIVATE! STAY OUT! I MEAN YOU TOO, NOT EVERYONE-BUT-YOU!! You have been warned. Penalty-of-death means that I'll kill you if I find you in here! So don't even peek! Or you'll wish you hadn't! Anyway... I'm going to start at the beginning of my life... with Mokug.
"Mokug was a golden hamster. He was the personal servant of King Sarengo." Sleeve told her son.
Kroova continued to read.
I was young when my raiding father came to Riftgard Isle with Mokug, barely born. "Sarengo, keep him for your own." My father said. To be honest, I wasn't sure if Mokug was even alive, much if he was going to live. The next morning, he woke up and snuffled, "Mu-kog!" My father, surprised, said, "Hmm?" The hamster replied, "Mokug!" I remember frowning in confusion and demanding, in a rather prince-like way, "What's Mokug!" My father replied, "Why, I do believe that's his name!"
My father was always so good and kind to me. He was something of a pirate, as some of the stranger beasts would call him. He preferred to be called a Raider. He has a ship called The Raider Crew. The ship has a beneath-hold that usually has all the spoils from his trip. Once, it held gold nuggets and jewels the size of my paw from a place called Durghu. Durghu is a land where jewels grow out of the ground and huge, colorless, blind snakes the length of Riftgard Isle guard their treasures. The snakes are called "Dragons", but I don't know why. My father always tells the best stories about these places. My favorite one is about a far-away mountain called "Salamandastron". At Salamandastron, a great beast called a badger lives in a fortress with tons of things-with-tall-ears called Hares. The badger is a terrific fighter... but I don't think Dad knows that I've figured out one of his secrets- he's a terrific liar. Plus, he sometimes gets drunk. Don't tell him that I told you that.
Back to Mokug (I get distracted). Anyway, Dad soon decided that Mokug could be my "servant", and I could be the "king." Seemed perfect, right? Well, we agreed, and now Mokug has to obey me! Completely! No kidding! I know, right? My best friend is INSLAVED TO ME! I don't know what to do... could you tell me? I have to go to bed now... and Dad's going to tell me about a stone castle! I'll tell you ALL ABOUT IT tomorrow. --Sarengo, future King of Riftgard!!
Okay, so here's Dad's story. If parts of it don't make sense, I think it's because he had drank a LOT of blackwater last night. I don't know why it's called blackwater. It should be "grape-smelling water" or "red-tinged water." But I guess "blackwater" is the shortest. Mom called it "wine," but that sounds like "whine," and I prefer "blackwater." Call me crazy. Anyway, he was drunk! On blackwater.
Anyway, Dad's story. Once upon a time, there was a old place called Bankhall, I don't know, where an old badger named Bell lived until a mouse named Markin came. Markin and Bell built a huge stone castle with a pond, belltower (a belltower is a tower with bells in it), and trees that grow food!!! Like blackberry tarts!!! Isn't it hard to believe???
Snowah giggled. "Vewwy hard to beweave."
Sleeve smiled. "Naow, he'd neveh seen Red'al befure."
Kroova grinned too, but his wife continued,
Anyway, Markin had been a great warrior in his day and he hid his sword in the belltower where there was something called a "wither vane." Another warrior, named Hat-ee-us, went on a search for Markin's sword after Markin died. Hat-ee-us and an old mouse named Mat-use-a-la searched, but Mat-use-a-la died. A squirrel named Chest went up onto the wither vane, but the sword was gone. Together with a badger named Constant, Hat-ee-us realized that the sword was with some birds. A bird named Wardpeak helped Hat-ee-us, who battle the sparrow king, King Full Spadah. Hat-ee-us eventually got the sword and killed the rat, Loony, who was threatening the castle. Redwall was saved, and Hat-ee-us got to keep Markin's sword, until Hat-ee-us's son, Hat-ah-may-oh, got the sword. But that's another story, Dad says.
Wow, I never considered the Riftgard names as normal, but next to the Redwallian names, they're pretty neat. Those Redwall names- you need to understand the Flinchaye to say them!
Oh, well, it's almost story time again. I'll tell you the story tomorrow! Bye! King Sarengo, future king of Riftgard Isle!!!
Yeah I know it's still the same day. I'm not supposed to be up. But I am. And I don't care that I'm not supposed to be! I'll do'ut I want, and no mom-nor-dad'll stop me! I'm the future king; they have no right to treat a Prince like this!
So you're probably wondering why I'm all upset, right?? Well, Dad PROMISED to tell me a story, and when I went downstairs, he was sailing away!! Just like that! Without even saying goodbye! When I asked about a story, he looked at me all weirdly and said, "N'tonight, Sarry. 'An't you see ah'm busy?" Well, yes I could but I hated being called Sarry so I told him, "My name's Sarengo, Dad." He looked at me all weird still and growled, "Go t'yore room. An' go t'sleep."
So here I am. Alone. While Dad sails away. Without snuggle-and-read.
There were tear-stains on the pages of the book.
I know what you think, what kind of King cries because of a broken bedtime ritual? Well, this king.
Oh, no, here comes Mom! I'll write for a WHILE tomorrow, never fear. G'Night! --King Sarengo, future king of Riftgard!!!!
Dad's gone. FOR GOOD. Did I tell you about him? His name is King Ferad, and Mom is Queen Meklif. Mom told me that her name means "queen of all" and his name means "king of value" in an old language. I was pretty interested and she told me that she didn't even know the language, only my grandparents do, and I should ask them. Ask them? Ask the stuffy old ferrets, who eat only soft things because they have no teeth, and who have personal servants just to brush the knots out of their fur so they even look civilized? Ask the old ferrets who snarl down at me when I cough out loud? No way, Mom. I don't care THAT MUCH about some stupid language that nobody even speaks anymore.
I think I've forgotten to tell you about myself. Although why I should tell some stupid little book about me, I don't know. Well, I'm Prince Sarengo. I'm in my middle ages; if I hadn't been forced to live at this stupid Riftgard Fortress, I would be living on my own. I hate Riftgard, as I'm sure you've gathered. I want to be a Raider, like Dad. Dad is King Ferad the Fierce, as he's known only to himself and his crew. Nobody else is afraid of him... until they see him. But then it's too late. Nobody has ever lived after an encounter with Ferad the Fierce. Which is good, because otherwise, everyone would see him for what he is- a fake. He can throw a dagger like Lady Ember of Breakheel (she was part of a story that Dad told me once), but what does that do? You have one chance; once that dagger's gone, then what? You are unarmed! I am much better with a real blade, a sword. I could kill Dad in my sleep if I wanted to... but I don't.
That's another thing about me. I'm pretty merciful. Unlike Dad. Mokug sometimes says that it's a weakness, but I think it's a strength. I would have killed everyone on this darn place long ago, if I didn't have mercy! But I do. Sometimes it is a weakness though, especially when Dad watches me train. I'm so afraid to chop the head off the dummy... I know it can't feel anything, but what if it could? What if it came to stalk me in the night?!
I'm kinda scared now. I'm gonna go scream at the wall or something. I wish Dad was here to tell me a story. Whenever Mom does it, it's no good. Maybe I'll go pester her to let ME go Raid. THAT would be fun. Sarengo the Scary. Yeah, I kinda like that... --King Sarengo, future king of Riftgard!!!!
Good gosh! You'd never believe this, but Mom says that I can go on Dad's next raid! Well, that is, if he agrees with her, but I think he will! This is why: apparently his cabinboy and armorer (they were more-or-less one in the same)