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Vermin In The Valley

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Lord Brocktree of Salamandastron Brocktree Want some combat?

A peaceful evening wafted on, nothing, not even the sunset got a thought from Mauran Axestripe. She lay exhausted in the cool shade of the orchard. That was her favorite place in redwall, savage when needed, Mauran Axestripe was a fierce warrior. As she lay sleeping she was visited by Martin the Warrior, the message he gave to her burnt into her memory like her axe into a tree.

Leave thy friends,

long thee stay not,

help he who needeth help

follow thine star unto Salamandastron.

The next morning Mauran was gone, leaving a note to Abbess Isalia, saying what her quest was and why.

                                                                                               ~

Lord Firestripe of Salamandastron needed help, desperately, his Long Patrol numbered a thousand, the vermin had threefold that number, led by a savage ferret known as Slitfang the Slayer. Many vermin had fallen to the perilous hares but still they needed help. Little did they know help was on the way.

                                                                                              ~

Mauran knelt in the shade of the trees in Mossflower drinking from a cool stream. She thought: What did Martin mean in the message to her? It was early evening, she took a huge badgers jaw sized bite out of a big trout she had caught in the shallows while kneeling. The fish was perfectly cooked, she never knew she was such a good cook. Once that and a flagon of cold cider from her haversack had been devoured by the hungry badger, she lay down to sleep. During the night she heard gruff voices arguing near by, she began to reach for her battleaxe but got a hefty thwack on the head from something. She regained her senses just as dawn broke over from night. A voice near by said "I still think it might be with that ferret and his horde, we should kill it." Another voice snarled "I will decide who gets slain around here Bandle." Mauran suddenly leaped, up axe in hand. "No! Stay thy axe badger!" A voice called out, it belonged to a big tough looking shrew.

                                                                                             ~

Later as she ate in the company of the shrews their leader Logalog Furo apologized for attacking her in the night and offered transport to wherever she was headed. "Thou must need help with your travels, is it not that ye seek the mountain of Salamandastron?" he asked. Mauran answered "Yes I need to get to the mountain of the fire lizards with all haste!" Soon the shrews had all the weapons and rations needed into their longships and were sailing. Two hours later, Mauran noticed that they weren't heading east. "Logalog, why are we not heading directly east?" she asked. "I have some friends and by what you described as the situation at Salamandastron you may need help, now rest." he answered.

                                                                                                 ~

As the sun set, Mauran and her friends came to a sizable hole in the river bank, Mauran asked "Where are we Logalog?" The shrew chieftain responded; saying "At sunset on the first day of a new season, every otter of mossflower and some from beyond gather here." The sound of joyous celebrating emitted from the cave, old sea shanty's, ballads about heroic deeds and many more that I could mention. Suddenly all sounds stopped and a small ripple spread across the river around them. A rough but authoritative voice bellowed out "Do yer come in peace or not?" Logalog Furo yelled back: "Ahoy Glenstorm would ye like to help clear the land of vermin?" A brawny otter surfaced, he wielded a single bladed axe with a long handle, "Yes I could clear some up." He winked at Mauran while brandishing his axe. "Come logalog annd bring your tribe and big friend to the rousing of the clans!"

                                                                                                 ~

A while later after the feasting and celebrating, two otter drummers with snare drums beat and a silence came over the otters. Glemstorm spoke: "Once again vermin bother the land, who says we deal with them?" A rousing "aye" rose from every otter there. Soon an old otter warsong broke out

Eeeeeeeeeeeee aaaaaaaaay ooooooooooooh

Death rides the wind!

Eeeeeeeeeeeee aaaaaaaaay ooooooooooooh

Blood and steel be our ways.

Eeeeeeeeeeeee aaaaaaaaay ooooooooooooh

The clans have risen eeeee aaaaay ooooooooh

Eeeeeeeeeeeee aaaaaaaaay ooooooooooooh

                                                                                                        ~

On an otter long ship Mauran crouched, all was silent except the bird song and the swish of oars as the large craft sped east toward the mighty Salamandastron. In the early afternoon the shrews who had been scouting ahead had sighted the mighty bulk of the mountain. Also there was trouble afoot, shadows flitted in and out of tree foliage and the branches rustled slightly. That night the travelers slept uneasily with the mysterious creatures all around them. The otters and the shrews had disappeared leaving Mauran alone. As the night went on Mauran slept fitfully dreaming of what awaited them at the mountain. She was so engrossed with her dreams that she didn't notice a large net being thrown over her. "Lots food?" asked one voice, another said "No badgers are not food, you little savage!" The second voice gave a wood pigeon call up towards the trees. Well over forty score agile squirrels scampered down from around the clearing. "Release her!" ordered the second voice. Mauran noticed as she opened her eyes that every squirrel was armed with a bow and a quiver of arrows, this sparked an idea off in her head, could these squirrels help. "Avast!" yelled a voice which Mauran recognized as Glenstorm's. She opened her eyes properly for the first time that morning and saw Glenstorm with his axe at the leading squirrels throat. "Ahoy you rabble up there! One wrong move and your leader dies!" "He-he" one squirrel cackled; "it would be a one on one thousand fight if you tried anything otter." "Ah well..." sighed Glenstorm, and he whistled, soon it was a ten to one position, enough otters and shrews for ten squirrels each. "Don't do anything!" rasped the leading squirrel, "try and make a truce with them."

As this was going on not far away lived a hermit vole who loved experimenting with things, but today Faddle was on the verge of a great invention. He had a couple of days ago put spark to a powder under a little oven, there was a huge bang and the oven was thrown hundreds of yards away. So he reasoned why couldn't he do it in a more controlled manner. First he got an old cart and he cut it in half, then he spent whole hours beating a pair of huge iron tubes which he mounted on the half's of the cart. To test it he took a large pebble some powder and a bit of rope. He pushed the tar covered rope through a hole in the back of the tube then he put some powder in and the pebble and he made a spark go onto the rope, it slowly burnt in the end it got to the powder and an explosion rocked the whole machine and the pebble flew out of the tube and went even further than the small oven. "I shall call these Cannons" he said proudly.

Meanwhile back at the badger/otter/shrew/squirrel camp a piece of hot stone plummeted down nearly hitting Bandle the shrew. "Oi who threw that?" he yelled looking around at the innocent faces. "It came from over in that direction he pointed, "come on" he said "lets find out who threw it and why!

                                                                                                                 ~

A score of the best shrew warriors stole through the long grass around the vole's cave and surrounded it before you could say boat. As one by one the shrews rose, showing their great numbers, the poor old vole fell over in shock! Log-a-Log came from his shrews and helped the vole up, asking "Was it you who threw a boiling hot stone at one of my shrews?" The response was not quite the one he wanted, "Well sir, yes and no" The shrew chieftain shook him soundly, "What do you mean" The vole looked quite frightened of this gruff shrew and his crew, "Well I made a great invention now you mention, I call it cannon and it fires large stones far further than a longbow or a sling!" Log-a-Log motioned for him to follow, marching towards the camp where food was set down for all. Mauran spent most the time questioning the vole about his great invention and it was agreed that it was to be taken to Salamandastron. After a wholesome meal everyone was ready to march, four otters took one cannon and Mauran took the other cannon.

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