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The Foxes of Rock Deep
Book 1of The Animals of Rock Deep
Caleb F. Huizenga
Lokyuhb the Tyrant The fox strode down the path, his eyes shining with fear. The fox was young, just able to walk. But Waryud was no ordinary fox. From his birth, Waryud could sense enemy’s miles away. Waryud shuddered and moaned, recalling the morning’s events. Waryud had woken up, an evil scent around him. He sensed it! The horrifying stench could only be one thing: Rangelarg, the biggest and cruel fox in the land of Glangtogo. Waryud had hopped up to go warn his parents, but an evil sight greeted him. Stretched out in the den were his parents, both killed with the overgrown claws of Rangelarg! Waryud had run, faster than ever. But his brother Evarglane was gone. Waryud was a smaller fox, but with deadly fangs. His fangs went down to his chin, and they could pierce anything. His eyes where large and knowing, taking in everything. He was surprisingly fast for a fox of his age. Waryud had been taught about a safe haven called Rock Deep. Many fox clans lived there, protected by a mysterious clan called the Darglak. Waryud was going to Rock Deep!
Rangelarg pranced around his camp and glared at the captured Darglaks. “Fools!” he shouted at them. They didn’t flinch. “Tell me where the Rock Deep is! Your lives are at stake! Remember the fate of your leader in the forest!” he continued. A fox named Ragtah spoke up. “I do not answer to a murderer. Who gives a care anyway if I die at your mercy?!” “You will not find any mercy within me, fox!” growled Rangelarg. “Good. I wasn’t expecting any. I’m a good guesser. I can guess most anything.” “I don’t need fancy-talking guessers; I need directions to the Rock Deep!” “Look somewhere else, mudbag!” Rangelarg stuck his talons out, ready for the kill. “You are lucky we have food for tonight, otherwise…” “Saying is one thing, doing is another,” stated Ragtah matter-of-factly. Ragtah said no more, as the claws of Rangelarg found him, maiming him forever.
Dartwep, the fox king was perched on a rock that let him view the whole forest. He sighted a miniature fox limping towards the cave entrance, where 20 Darglak waited, along with the healing clan, Hospuhad. Unbeknownst to the king, hateful eyes were glaring from the ground inside the walls. It was a member of the salvager clan, the Radwak. His name was Lokyuhb. Down on the ground, Lokyuhb’s friend Darkfiend spoke. “Lokyuhb, now is the time! His back is turned! Do it! “Darkfiend, you should know better than that. Darglaks are everywhere! We would be caught immediately!” “You are the closest relative to Dartwep. When you kill him, you will be king!” “And you?” Darkfiend was speechless. “That’s what I thought!” Lokyuhb grabbed a fang knife out of his belt, and killed Darkfiend. Quickly, almost at the same time, he ripped out the knife and stuck an arrow in its place. Lokyuhb, like most foxes, was sly, and he knew the king always wore a bow. As of now, the king had it out. Lokyuhb cried out,”Dartwep has killed my friend Darkfiend!
Rangelarg paced his tent. He wondered how to deal with the 3 legged Ragtah. An idea struck him. “Slave master; execute all the Darglaks except for Ragtah Three-leg.”
Rangelarg giggled like a child fox. “Rangelarg will rule!”
Marilda was a Darglak. She was better than even the king with a bow and arrow. She had been watching Lokyuhb, because Dartwep knew that this salvager always wanted the right to rule. Many times before, salvagers had assassinated the kings, and jumped into the throne. But time had passed. Dartwep, in his younger days, was the chieftain of the Darglaks. He passed the right to be chief to his son, Ragtah, who was tracking down a new threat. Marilda saw Lokyuhb murder his friend. As Lokyuhb shouted that the king had killed Darkfiend, Marilda was ready. She quickly pointed he bow at Darkfiend and thought fast. What am I supposed to do? She thought. Suddenly she knew. “Lokyuhb, you are a plain fool! Look at the way that arrow is sticking! It could have never been the king! It was I! Marilda! Darkfiend was not needed here.” Lokyuhb scowled and yelled. “Guards! Grab her!”
Waryud had arrived at the main gates. He heard yells and shouts inside. Curious and taking advantage of his oversized fangs, he bit into the wall and pulled himself up. He found a foothold and pulled his teeth out of the wall. He then reached higher and dug in, pulling up bit by bit, tooth by tooth, small foothold by big foothold.
Ragtah had woken up to unfortunate circumstances that morning. He woke to a sharp prodding, performed by one of the evil fox guards. The fox bawled in his face. “Get up! Emperor Rangelarg commands it!” Ragtah took one look at the guard and knew what he was about to do would be easy, if not for his missing leg, thanks to Rangelarg. Ragtah spoke then. “Wow! Look at the size of that bird!” The guard turned around, only to be kicked and punched in the back of the head, knocking him out cold. Ragtah sprung up and grabbed the guard’s weapon, a double-bladed war axe. He ran out, right under the banner, a small fox with big fangs being suffocated by a snake.
Waryud pulled himself over the ramparts with a great effort. Down below a group of ravagers where forcing a fox into a prison house. Waryud stealthily crawled on the wall tops, over to the stairs down. As he came closer, he recognized the fox. What was her name? Mytula, Matilda, Marilda! That’s it! Waryud was at the same place where Marilda was when she thought fast. He did the same thing. He got an idea, but before it went in action, a familiar voice rang out. “Foxes of Rock Deep! Unhand that fox now or arrows will be found in your bodies!”
Ragtah was halted midway through the camp by the sight of his fellow Darglaks lying dead on the ground. He hurried across the camp and plunged into the woods.
Waryud turned to look where the voice had come from. Standing upright on the ramparts his brother Evarglane brandished a crossbow. Waryud whispered one word. “Evarglane!”
Ragtah limped across the forest, stumbling almost everywhere, on everything that would not have bothered anybody. Suddenly he heard a noise like an arrow flying through the air. Almost simultaneously a scream rang out. Then there where many yells and arrow sounds. Ragtah rushed faster, but the stick he tripped on saved him. Right in front of him was a gaping hole, caused by erosion. He looked around, trying to find a way across the hole. A vine caught his sight. Quickly he rushed over to it and held on for dear life. He catapulted himself across the hole, letting go at just the right time, landing on some dry ground, which broke under his weight. He got away just in time.
Marilda looked up as an arrow thudded into Lokyuhb’s shoulder. He winced, pulled it out, and thundered, “She murdered Darkfiend!” Evarglane stared down at Lokyuhb. “He was Darkfiend by name and nature. He was a threat to this haven.” Marilda found her chance. “And a threat to Lokyuhb too.” Lokyuhb whirled around. “Nobody even saw that!” Another arrow thudded into the ground next to Lokyuhb’s paw. It came from a different direction. Lokyuhb whirled around to see Dartwep approaching. Dartwep stood in front of Lokyuhb. “Welcome to prison, Lokyuhb.” Lokyuhb suddenly kicked Dartwep and leaped on top of him.
Ragtah stomped his feet. He had missed Lokyuhb! He then saw Lokyuhb kick his father and jump on top of him, calling out, “I saved Dartwep from his son’s arrow!” He held it up for all to see. Ragtah shot again, which nobody saw, and it fell in the same earth as the other one. Lokyuhb yanked it out, earth and dust showering everyone, and in the cloud, he stuck Dartwep with the arrow. Only Ragtah saw. “No!” Lokyuhb suddenly shrieked out, “Ragtah has killed his father! Kill him!” One of Lokyuhb cohorts fired an arrow, going so fast that everybeast thought he was dead.
Ragtah was curled up in a ball at the base of the wall, an arrow protruding from his shoulder, and a broken leg. He unrolled and crawled slowly into the forest, thinking my own home trying to kill me, and an evil fox after me. And that little one, he looked exactly like the one described in legend that would help destroy Rangelarg, and who’s on the Rangelarg banner. I know! I’ll capture him, along with the other good ones there, like Marilda and Evarglane. Together, we will kill Lokyuhb and defeat Rangelarg!
Back at Rock Deep, Lokyuhb was made king. There was still four who would not accept it. They were thrown in prison. Lokyuhb made no rules. There was no prisoners, except four who dared to oppose his rule.
The four in the prison were as expected. Marilda, who knew Lokyuhb was horrible; Waryud, Evarglane, and the king’s second born son, Vartwep, often accidentally and on purposely called Fartwep, with a good reason, of course. The four were sitting in the prison cell waiting for food. A knock on the door caused them to call, “Give us food!” An answer came back. “My Lord King, his Majesty, my Emperor declares that none of your kind or kin will receive any food. If you are not dead in a year, King Lokyuhb will personally in front of everybody execute you!” Evarglane had had enough. He slammed against the door, splitting it open. He leaped on the guard and killed him on the spot. He turned to Marilda, Waryud, and Vartwep. “Come on!” Vartwep took a sword from the guard, and Evarglane and Marilda chose crossbows. Waryud had his teeth. They were near the end of the passageway. Marilda shuddered. “I’ve got a weird feeling about this place.” Waryud shook with fright and proclaimed, “This has turned into a sinister place. It is not safe. Something non-fox must lurk here.” Evarglane froze, a look of horror on his face. “Legend tells of an abominable monster in the very depths of Rock Deep. Could this be its lair?” Vartwep, speaking for the first time in his life, said, “Me fadder bused ta te’ me ‘bou’ da mo’ste’. I’ big an’ pow’ful. I scare’d, Ma’il’a.” Waryud whispered quietly to his brother, “Didn’t realize how young the poor guy is. He’s only a season old, at least that’s what Marilda says.” An unexpected voice came from the shadows. “Foxes, come to meet your destiny. The Mauler awaits his prey! Because of the suspense of the moment, Vartwep passed gas, creating a smelly fume. “Yagh! Yuck! What that smell?” That was all Evarglane needed. He jumped into the shadows. A sound of a scuffle was all before Evarglane emerged with a bleeding muzzle and a mouse. “A mouse?” The question came from everybody’s mouth. The mouse, with arms akimbo, spoke. “Ma’ nam’ i’ no’ ‘mouse’, i’ Delfold!” Marilda smiled. “What a nice name. But how in Rangelarg did you get down here?” The mouse sighed. “Big bad fox kill me family, an I put big fight up. He capture me family, and I hide here to prepare.” Waryud had a question. “Why did you speak properly as the Mauler, but not as a mouse?” “It wernt me talkin. It was da big guy, Raggertahah.” Vartwep spoke. “Ya’ mea’ Ra’ah?” He was jumping and fidgeting. “Yah shure, dat guy.” “COM’ ON!” Vartwep was off like a dart. Marilda was the first to interpret Vartwep’s ramblings. “Ragtah!” Evarglane whooped and leaped away with Marilda. Waryud followed. Who was this guy?
Marilda and Evarglane walked into the enormous cave. Vartwep was looking around for Ragtah. He was crying. Marilda jumped to his side and asked him, “What’s wrong?” Vartwep looked up into her eyes. “Ra’ah na’ here.” Evarglane glanced around the room. “Where in Froxia is he? Suddenly, the door slammed open and in walked Ragtah, three legs, and Waryud. “Ragtah!” Vartwep yelled, and he rushed over to his older brother. “Ragtah!” “Ragtah!” Everybody was hugging Ragtah and chatting, and nobody noticed a fox with a crown moving into the room, sword in hand. Lokyuhb crept up behind Evarglane, and raised the sword, a little to quickly. Evarglane heard the whoosh of the sword, drew his own and whirled around to meet his foe. “Lokyuhb,” Evarglane said, not hiding the contempt in his voice. Lokyuhb did not have time to sit down and chat. He whirled his sword up, and brought it down in a stroke of darkness. Evarglane quickly jumped to the side and struck upwards with his blade. Lokyuhb squealed in pain as the sword cut his paw. He parried another one of Evarglanes blows, and jab out a few of his own. Evarglane was not getting tired, but Lokyuhb was sweating and making helpless feeble little blows. Then, with a quick sweep of his sword, he knocked away Evarglanes sword, and stabbed him right through the shoulder. Evarglane dropped to the floor, clutching his shoulder. Waryud gasped, and bared his fangs. This was not going to happen again. He leaped at Lokyuhb, who had his sword prepared for the final blow. Waryud landed on lokyuhbs arm, and bit it. Lokyuhb yelled, and Waryud loosened his hold and jumped from part to part of Lokyuhb, biting him. Evarglane slowly raised himself up. He saw his brother attacking Lokyuhb. Thinking quickly, he retrieved his sword, and threw it, killing Lokyuhb on the spot. As he fell, Waryud jumped off. Evarglane sheathed his sword. “Everyone all right?” And everyone was.