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Ok so this is my first fan fic on redwall wiki, thanks to Hollyfire53 begging me to write one, here it is. Tell me what you think about it. Hope you guys like it!
A young mouse, sleeping in Mossflower Wood, was awakened by the sun shining in his eyes. He sat up, rubbed the sleep out of his eyes, and yawned. He looked over his shoulder at his companian, who was another mouse like himself.
She was still asleep. He smiled.
The young mouse got up, and rekindled the fire from last night. He was well built, with dark brown eyes, and dressed in a brown tunic, worn from seasons of traveling. Once the fire started, the mouse went over and got his haversack. He opened it up and took out what food was left.
A few minutes later, the other mouse awoke to the smell of smoke. She sleepily opened her eyes, sat up, and yawned.
The male mouse looked away from the food and fire at the sound of her yawn. “Mornin’ sleepy head.” He joked. The mousemaid smirked at him with a playful look in her eyes.
“Dandin swordcarrier, your such a toad!” she teased, throwing a pinecone at him. Dandin lifted his paws to block his face from the pinecone, looking hurt at the comment.
“Me? A slimy toad? Why I never!” he said with mockingly. “Beside Mariel,” getting slightly more serious. “Your more like a toad than me.” Mariel gasped sarcastically and threw more pinecones at him.
“Cease fire!” he called out while Mariel threw the cones at him. “Or you’ll be t’blame when Saxtus finds out who killed his dear, best friend.”
Mariel rolled her eyes, “Yeah, killed with pinecones,” and kept tossing.
“And, you won’t get any breakfast,” Dandin added, remembering he had the food.
Mariel reluctantly stopped. “Fine, you win. For now,”
Dandin smirked, “I knew you’d see it my way,” He was taking some scones out of the haversack when a he felt something hit the back of his head. “Ouch!” he turned around quickly to face Mariel, who was “inocently” looking around and whistling. “Hey! I thought I told you t’stop,”
But she just smiled at him and shrugged her shoulders, “What?”
“How do you think that young ‘un Bowly Pintips did last night, out by himself for the last night of being by himself?” Mariel asked Dandin, as they put out the fire and picked up their things.
Bowly Pintips was a young hedgehog Mariel and Dandin had met on one of their journeys. He had said a few days ago he wanted to prove he wasn’t a “young ‘un” any more, by going without Mariel and Dandin for a few days. The mice agreed, and so they let had Bowly travel ahead of them.
“Who knows?” Dandin replied, as he flung the haver sack over his shoulders. “Last time when he said he wanted to try going by himself for a day or two, he came back in the middle of the first night!”
“Well I guess we’ll have to find out when we get there.”
Once they did get to Bowly’s “camp” he was still snoring, fast asleep covered in a blanket, by his small fire pit.
Dandin grinned and shook his head. “He’ll never get to Redwall if he kept this up everyday.”
Mariel smiled. “That’s why he has us,” she walked over to where Bowly was sleeping and put her mouth very close to his ear. “WAKE UP! OR I’LL BRING THIS GULLWHACKER DOWN ON YOUR HEAD!”
Bowly’s eyes snapped open, and sat up immeaditly. “I’m up! I’m up!” he shouted rapidly, scrambling out of the blanket. “Just don’t take that piece o’ rope out!”
Mariel walked away with a satisfied grin. “That’ll teach ‘im t’wake up late.”
As Bowly packed his stuff and put out the embers of the left over ashes he asked, “Can we at least stop for a snack?”
Dandin shook his head. “Nope, you woke up too late. So you’ll have to eat on the way.”
“Oh, alright.” Bowly muttered.
“How long do you think it’ll take, ‘till we get to Redwall?” Mariel asked Dandin, as the trio walked through Mossflower Wood.
Dandin looked around, then up at the sky. “Hmmm, I’d say about three t’five days from now. It depends if you want to run or walk there.”
“I think I’ll walk. Thank you very much.” She replied.
“I second that!” Bowly replied with a mouth full of scone.
“Alright,” Dandin nodded, then looked around as he asked. “What do you think they’ll be doing at the Abbey right now?”
Mariel shrugged, “I don’t know. Maybe having some mint tea ‘n’ scones, it’s about tea time over there.”
“Probably,” the young warrior agreed.
“I wish we could stop an' have tea,” Bowly remarked.
Dandin chuckled, “I bet you do, the way your stuffin’ your face with scones, you’ll run out of food before we even get insight of Redwall.”
As they walked on they started to run out of things to talk about. “Now what do we do?” Dandin asked.
“Eat,” Bowly replied. “I’m starving!”
Mariel playfully cuffed his ear, careful not to get poked by one of his spikes. “You just ate breakfast!”
“So,” Bowly said, while rummaging through his sack. “Doesn’t mean I got enough to eat.”
Then suddenly a bird started chirping from some where close by. And Mariel, hearing the bird sing, got an idea.
“Hey Dan, why don’t you play your flute, then Bowly and I can sing along. That’ll give us something to do.” She suggested.
“No thanks,” Bowly declined. “I’m too hungry t’sing.”
“Okay, suit yourself” Dandin took the haversack off of his shoulder and took out his flute, then handed the sack to Mariel to hold. “Which song?” he asked.
“Hmm, how ‘bout ‘Winter O’?” Mariel offered. Dandin nodded as he put his flute to his mouth and started playing, while Mariel sang along, and Bowly looked through his sack.
“The winter O, the winter O,
With cold and dark and driving snow,
O not for me the winter O,
My friend I tell you so.
In the spring the winds do sport and play,
And rain can teem down anyday,
While autumn oft is misty grey,
My friend hear what I say.
When summer sunlight comes each morn,
The birds sing sweet each golden dawn,
And flow'rs get kissed by every bee,
While shady stands the tree.
The summer O, the summer O,
Amid its golden peace I go,
From noon to lazy evening glow.
My friend I told you so."
As they ended there was a rusling sound coming from the bushes. Dandin tucked his flute away into his tunic, and unsheathed his dagger. Mariel untied her Gullwhacker, which is a rope with knots tied on the ends, from around her waist, swinging it, getting ready to attack, while Bowly picked up two very good sized rocks, one in each paw.
And out of the bushes came three stoats, each holding a scimitar.
“’Ey Grindle, lookit, we gots sum musical mouseys.” Said the one on the left with a blue bandana, to the middle stoat.
“Anda hog. Whadya say we gives ‘em t’Zanel as a gift?” suggested the other, standing on the right, with two rings on one ear.
“Yah, and maybe he’ll promote us.” Suggested the stoat with the blue bandana. Grindle, the one in the middle, thought about this, and saw the haversack in Mariel’s paw, and grinned evilly.
“And we might get sum vittles too. Alright, lets get ‘em,” as the stoats surrounded them, Mariel, Dandin, and Bowly stood back to back, Mariel still swinging her Gullwhacker, Dandin holding his dagger ready to attack, and Bowly gently tossing the rocks in his paws.
“Charge!” Grindle shouted, and the three closed in. The stoat with the blue bandana tackled Mariel to the ground, and was about to cut her face when a knotted rope smacked him in the face. Mariel scrambled out from under him, and hit him again while the stoat tried to recover.
Meanwhile, Dandin and Bowly were fighting with Grindle and the stoat with two earings. As the earinged stoat battled with Dandin, Grindle tried to get him from behind. But Bowly would pelt the stoat with rocks before he could get Dandin. Grindle turned around, and went towards Bowly. The young hedgehog dropped his stones, since they were of no use in close combat, and rolled up into a tight ball. Seeing that he probably wouldn’t get anywhere with that hedgehog, the stoat decided to go after Dandin again.
Once Mariel had finnished with her stoat she went over to help Bowly and Dandin. Grindle charged at Dandin, but the mouse moved swiftly aside, and Grindle missed. While Dandin’s back was turned the earinged stoat, who’s name Dandin had found out was Foldrin, tried to get Dandin from behind, but Mariel had gotten to him first. By this time Bowly had uncurled and started to throw rocks again, while yelling encouragement to his companions.
As the trio battled Grindle and Foldrin, the stoat with the blue bandana was starting to regain his consiousness. He had a terrible head ache, his nose was bleading, and his arms were exhausted. The stoat felt the top of his head, to see if it was bleading. It was, but not much. He wondered if the other stoats had finished off that hedgehog, and those two mice yet. He slowly looked over his shoulder he saw that they were still battling the mice, while the hedgehog threw rocks at them. The stoat sighed. If they were going to beat these three, they’d need more help. So the stoat gradually got up, and headed towards the camp.
Mariel and Dandin were finishing up with the two stoats when the bushes started to rustle again. The five creatures turned toward the noise, and Mariel saw that the stoat she had defeated earlier was gone.
“Where’d that scum get to?!” she growled.
Dandin didn’t answer, instead he turned to Bowly and told him to hide in the ferns. Bowly was about to argue, but the look in Dandin’s eyes told him not to, and slowly crept into the ferns.
Dandin he gave Grindle a good hard hit in the back of the head, knocking him out, and walked toward the bushes, dagger at the ready. Mariel followed behind, dragging both stoats with her.
The first creature who stepped out of the bushes was the same stoat with the blue bandana, and following him was about a score of vermin: rats, stoats, and ferrets alike. Mariel dropped the stoats, and took out her Gullwhacker.
As the rest of the vermin surrounded the mice, Foldrin, the stoat who was still conscious, tried to get away, but tripped over a rock, and was smacked neatly between his ears, killing him in one blow.
As Dandin slashed a ferret he called Mariel to, “I don’t think we’ll be able to keep up with this. By the noise we’re making we’ve probably roused the whole vermin camp.”
Mariel bashed a rat before she answered. “You’re probably right. If you can find away to escape, and get to Bowly, tell me. The filthy vermin will probably capture us if they get the chance.” And shuddered at the thought.
Mariel had been captured by Gabool the Wild about ten seasons ago, and had thrown her into the ocean. She had barely survived. Making her forget everything, even her name, until she came to Redwall, where Simeon, a blind herbalist, helped her to remember. Since then Mariel had been terrified of storms, and hated vermin.
As the two fought on Mariel manged to get a small opening through the vermin near the ferns where Bowly was hiding and throwing stones, just barely big enough for both of them to get through. “Dandin,” she called out over the din. “I’ve got a spot open but I don’t know how long I’ll be able to hold it, so you’d better get through now!”
Dandin finsihed off a ferret with a good slash and took off towards Mariel who was fighting to keep the opening. When he got within ear shot her he saw that a rat coming at her from behind. He ran faster and caught the rat on the shoulder before the rat could get her.
“Dandin!” she called out “Are you coming or not?” Dandin ran over to Mariel’s side, and they both started towards the opening, but it was getting smaller and smaller as the vermin closed in. Suddenly Mariel tripped, Dandin bent over to help her up, but she refused. “Dandin, get going, or you’ll never make it out!”
“I’m not going without you!” he cried, and tried again to help her up. She still wouldn’t let him.
“Go!” She shouted, and shoved him through the opening.
As Dandin tumbled out of the group of vermin and into the ferns, a few ferrets had grabbed Mariel by the arms, and were struggling to bind her with a rope, while she spat insults at them.
Dandin and Bowly silently watched, whilst the vermin dragged Mariel away. Dandin wanted to scream out her name, and leap out of the bushes to save her. But he knew, that if he did, the vermin would capture him too. Dandin closed his eyes, he couldn’t bear seeing her struggle against vermin, and not do anything about it. He waited until he couldn’t hear her voice, and the sound of vermin faded away in the distance.
“Mariel will be ok. . .w-won’t she?” Bowly asked nervously.
opening his eyes, Dandin shrugged, “I don’t know Bowly.” He said uncertainly. “I. . .I hope so.”
Meanwhile, up on the ramparts of Redwall Abbey, Abbot Saxtus was talking with Durry Quill, the Abbey’s cellarkeeper, about this season’s Nameday Feast that was coming up in a few weeks.
“So you want to have a talent show this year?” the young Abbot asked the hedgehog.
Durry nodded, “We haven’t had ‘un in a while, and I think those youngsters Bagg, Runn, and Grubb are just dying to show off their new routine.”
Abbot Saxtus chuckled, “I bet they are. Those three are always figuring out new ways of amazing me. It’s hard to believe that they’re in the Abbey school already, it seems like it was just yesterday they were Dibbons, always causing trouble. Shows how old I’m getting.” The Abbot teased.
Their conversation was interrupted by Sister Serina coming up the steps, bringing up a tray of tea and scones. “Father, I brought up some tea ‘n’ scones. You creatures must be hungry, tea time’s almost over, and you haven’t eaten anything.”
“Oh, of course,” The Abbot replied. “How silly of me.” The mousemaid set the tray down between Abboth Saxtus and Durry on a table, the Abbot thanked her, and she bid the pair farewell and started back down the stairs.
A few hours had passed and the sun was beginning to set when Durry and Saxtus’ conversation ended.
Looking out at the sun set the Abbot realized the time. “Well we’ve been up here for a while, haven’t we?”
Durry nodded in agreement, “Yes we have, and I suppose we sould get down to the Great Hall for dinner.”
The two got up from their chairs, and started to pick up their things, then headded down to the Great Hall, not knowing what trouble would come later.
Dandin, and Bowly had tracked the vermin to their camp, and were now silently hiding in the undergrowth, wanting to see how big their horde was, who was leader, what kind, and what they would do to Mariel.
They had taken Mariel into the largest tent in the camp, Dandin guessed that was the leader’s, and by the yells coming from it, he guessed the meeting wasn’t going to well. Typical Mariel, he thought, she won’t go down without a fight.
“Dandin, do you think Mariel is going too far? I can’t hear what their saying, but I’m guessing Mariel is giving them a lot of trouble.” Bowly asked Dandin worriedly.
“Yes, but lets hope she doesn’t get in too much trouble.” Dandin replied. “Martin knows how much trouble she got in last time she was captured by vermin.” As he spoke Dandin looked around the camp, estimating how many vermin were in camp, he counted about four score.
A moment later, a stoat and ferret dragged Mariel, who was still yelling insults, from out of the tent, to a stake in the middle of the camp near the main campfire. The other vermin in the camp watched excitedly as the stoat and ferret struggled to tie her up, but eventually they did.
As the ferret and stoat stepped away, other vermin came forward, a few holding whips, some holding daggers or stones, while others just came as they were. Dandin knew exactly what they were going to do to her. They were going to tourture her. And not for any good reason either, they were doing it for fun.
Knowing how cruel vermin could be, and since Bowly was with him, Dandin decided it would be best if they went to find out who was their leader. “C’mon Bowly,” the mouse warrior said, “Let’s find out who the leader is.”
The young hedgehog got up. “Mariel will be alright, won’t she?” Dandin slowly followed him, and with a sad look in his eyes, replied. “I don’t know Bowly, I don’t know.”
When the two got to the tent they’d found a tear in the fabric, as the pair looked in to the tent they saw a black and gray, male stoat sitting in a large wooden chair. The stoat was talking to a brown ferret, who was standing next to him.
“Tell me again, Borran, the legend of the red stoned fortress.” Said the stoat to the ferret.
The ferret nodded and began. “The red stoned fortress is in Mossflower wood, made with---”
“No, no,” interrupted the stoat. “Tell me the part I like, you know with the treasures, and magic swords.”
The brown ferret nodded and began again. “They say that the red stoned fortress holds many secret chambers, holding treasures, gold, silver, and glittering jewls, the even have magic swords. . .”
“Gold, Silver, Magic swords? These vermin have no idea what their talking about. Redwall doesn’t have any of that stuff!” Bowly scoffed.
“Ssshhhh!” Dandin hissed. “Do you want them to hear us?” Bowly rolled his eyes.
“. . .They say that a magical mouse protects these treasures and if---”
“That’s enough Borran,” disrupted the stoat.
Borran nodded, “Yes Zannel,” he replied.
Zannel, so that’s his name, Dandin thought.
“Ah, imagine what it’d be like to rule a place like that.” Zannel sighed.
Borran smiled evilly, “Just wait ‘till we attack ‘em, then you will rule the place, and soon, all of Mossflower!”
“Oh, I almost forgot of our plan, yes, that red stoned building will soon be mine.” As he finished his sentence, Zannel started to laugh evilly.
At the mention of attack Bowly and Dandin had looked at each other, both with worried eyes. “We’d better warn the Abbey,” Bowly whispered, with a hint of panic in his voice.
Dandin nodded, “And we better do so soon. The sooner they know the better.” The mouse warrior took one more glance inside of the tent. “We should discuss this more at the camp.” Bowly nodded. The two silently got up and headed towards the area where they’d made their camp.
Once they to got to the camp, Dandin started a fire, while Bowly got out some biscuits and cheese for them to snack on. While Bowly came over to sit by the fire, he handed Dandin some of the biscuits, and a chunk of cheese.
As the pair sat by the fire, Dandin told Bowly his plan. “We should probably head to Redwall in the morning, and keep on going ‘till it gets dark, from there it’ll only take, a little over a day’s march.” After he finished Dandin broke off a small bit of his cheese, and took a bite of his biscuit.
“That’s a good idea,” Bowly replied through a mouth full of cheese. “And once we tell the Abbot, Skipper can start getting them ready, he might even help us rescue Mariel.”
“Of course they’ll help us rescue Mariel,” Dandin smiled. “I haven’t known anybeast at Redwall to turn down a creature in need. And I bet Tarquin and Hon Rosie will help as well.” He added.
Bowly yawned, “Ok, so the plan is we get to Redwall as soon as we can, when we get there, we tell the Abbot, ask Skipper and Tarquin---“
“And Hon Rosie,” Dandin added
“And Hon Rosie, if they can help us rescue Mariel. Right?”
Dandin grinned, “Right, that’s the plan.”
“Then we can get a good night’s sleep now, right?” Bowly asked while getting up, and pulling out a blanket.
“Dandin nodded, “Right,” the young hedgehog smiled, and covered himself in the blanket. “G’night, sir Dandy,” Bowly yawned.
The mouse warrior pulled out another blanket and draped it around himself. “Good night Bowly.” Dandin replied, but the hedgehog was already asleep.
Mariel slowly opened her eyes, drowsily coming to her senses. The first thing the mousemaid noticed was that she was in pain, not just ‘this hurts’ kind of pain, but ‘I feel like I’m on fire’ pain. She was covered in cuts and bruises from head to tail. Her head was pounding so hard she felt as if she’d been hit on the head by a badger, and her wrists and ankles were sore and raw from struggling against the rope that was digging in to her skin.
The last thing she remembered before blacking out was a black rat whipping her, and two shadowy figures hiding in the bushes. One of the figures was tall; the other was short and kind of bulky. She guessed it was Dandin and Bowly. Mariel wondered what they were up to, but before she could think of about it anymore, the same black rat with the whip came walking towards her, yawning and stretching as if just waking up. That’s when she noticed that the sun was rising, and that it was morning, as the rest of the camp was waking up.
By then the black rat was standing in front of her, twirling his whip, and grinning wickedly. “Mornin’ mousey,” he said, “Time for yore mornin’ wakes up call, though since yore already up, I’ll just make sures yew is.”
The rat stopped swinging his whip, and lifted it above his head. Mariel closed her eyes, and braced herself for the blow, as she did so the rat brought the whip down, with full force, onto her shoulders. Mariel flinched, and bit her lip to keep from crying out. She did so as the rat hit her over and over again, until after what seemed like an eternity, he finally stopped. As he did so Mariel realized that she'd itten her lip so hard it was bleeding.
The rat gave a satisfied nod, “That shud keep yews awake for a whiles,” and the rat turned around and walked away swinging his whip.
Mariel lifted her head, and was about to yell an insult after him, when she felt her head throbbing again, and this time even worse. It felt as if it were about to explode. Suddenly she felt dizzy, and before she knew it, everything was black.
“Were almost there!” Bowly shouted as the red-stoned building came into view. “C’mon!” and the young hedgehog ran off towards Redwall.
Dandin chuckled, “Wait For me!” Dandin called. Once the two got to the gate, Bowly started pounding on the gate.
“Open up!” he shouted. “We’ve got something important to say to the Abbot!” as Bowly did so, Rufe Brush’s head appeared from over the wall top.
“What’s all the yelling and shouting for?” He asked, as he peered down. “Dandin! Bowly!’ he exclaimed in surprise. “What are you two doing here, and where’s Mariel?”
“You’ll find out later Rufe,” Dandin answered. “But We’ve got to talk with the Abbot first, so can you please open the gate?”
Rufe nodded. “Hey Skipper,” Rufe called as he descended the stairs, “can you help me with the gate?” a few moments later, the gate creaked open.
“Hey Dandin!” Skipper called as Dandin and Bowly walked through the gates. “How’re you doin’ matey?”
“Fine, what about you?”
“Great,” Skipper answered as he closed the gate. “Hey, where’s Mariel?”
“That’s why I need to talk to you, and the Abbot. Where is he?”
“In the gate house with Durry and Friar Burrel.”
“Thanks,” Dandin said as he headed off to the gate house. “Oh, and could you get Hon Rosie, and Tarquin for me please? I need to talk with them as well.”
“I’m on it mate, see you in a bit!” The otter called as the two separated.
“We better do that as well,” The Abbot said in reply to the Friar’s question. As he did so there was a knock at the door. “Come in.” The Abbot replied. The door opened and a mouse stepped in. “Dandin!” Saxtus exclaimed in surprise. “What are you doing here?”
“Saxtus, I have something very important to tell you.” By the grim look on Dandin’s face, Saxtus knew his friend was serious.
The Abbot turned back to Friar Burrel and Durry. “Can I speak to you two later?” he asked, guessing that Dandin would probably want to speak with him privately.
“Of course Father,” Durry replied, and the Friar nodded in agreement. As the two creatures left the room Saxtus beckoned Dandin to sit down on the chair across from him. Dandin did what he was bid, and sat down. “Now Dandin,” The mouse asked “please tell me what is going on?”
Dandin was about to reply when the door opened, and Skipper came through dragging Tarquin by the paw (which was holding a scone), with Hon Rosie and Bowly trailing behind. “Hello Father Abbot,” The otter greeted, then he turned to Dandin. “I brought them, though Tarquin didn’t really like the idea of going in the middle of teatime. So what’s this all about mate?”
As the arrivals got themselves settled, the Abbot re-asked Skipper’s question “Yes Dandin, what is all of this about?”
Not really knowing how to start out, Dandin when strait to the problem. “Well, there are vermin in Mossflower wood, and they’re coming to take over the Abbey!” Hon Rosie gasped, Bowly nodded vigorously, Skipper’s eyes widened, Saxtus breathed an ‘Oh my!’, and even Tarquin stopped chewing, if only for a moment, when Dandin said vermin were coming to take over Redwall. The warriormouse waited a moment before he continued. “But it’s not just that, they’ve also captured Mariel.” and for a few seconds there was just stunned silence.
“What, they’ve captured Mariel?!” Skipper exclaimed in shock.
“We’ve got to do something about this!” The Abbot said, trying to stay calm.
“And fast,” Bowly added, “They’re also torturing her! If we don’t do something quick, she might die!”
“Why that’s aboballylutly horrible!” Hon Rosie said horrified. “Those blinkin’ vermin, torturin’ a mousemaid, why that’s just cruel!”
“What can we do t’ help m’lad?” Tarquin asked, devouring the rest of his scone.
“Well I was hoping we could figure out a plan to help Mariel escape, that would be our first move.” Dandin suggested. “Anybeast have an idea?”
Tarquin volunteered, “Have you found any weak spots in the camp, Dandin?” He asked trying to get a good plan going.
“Well there’s this one spot where there aren’t many vermin guards, but it’s not very close to where Mariel’s held.” The warriormouse answered.
“That’s alright, I think I can come up with something, how many do you suppose are in the horde?”
It was Bowly who answered this one. “I saw about three score, maybe a little more, but there is at least that much.”
“Very good, now what do you think about this. . .” As Tarquin told them his plan, there were a few nods, and every once in a while a ‘what about this’ until they desided it was a well thought out plan.
“I think that’ll do,” Skipper announced. Everone agreed. “Now when do you think we should go to the camp?”
“Tomorrow,” Dandin suggested, “the quicker the better.” Everyone nodded.
Bowly yawned, “Well I’m gonna get some dinner, then hit the hay, it’s getting dark.”
As everone departed the gate house, Dandin prayed to Martin that he’d keep her safe.
Back at the vermin camp, Mariel was worn, and bleeding. The vermin had just finished with her daily beating, and were now doing their duties. She’d managed to not black out that time, and was now trying to calm down. Those stupid fleabags! She thought. When I escape they’re gonna pay.
She was about to go on insulting the vermin when she heard rustling in the bushes, she turned her head, and saw glimpse of brown. And as suddenly as she saw it, the color disappeared.
“What. . .?” she whispered to herself. Suddenly, she saw Dandin’s head where she’d seen the color of brown disappear. “Dandin!” she breathed. Almost as if he had heard her, Dandin turned to her and smiled. ‘What are you doing here?’ she mouthed to him. The warriormouse smirked and pulled out Martin the Warrior’s sword.
Mariel gasped, the only way he could’ve gotten that, is if he’d went to Redwall. As she thought of this, an otter form emerged from the trees, and stood next to Dandin, holding a spear. It was Skipper! Which meant only one thing. They’d come to free her!
As she realized this there was a loud yell, coming from the opposite direction. “EUUULAALIAAAA!!! REDWAAAAAALL!!” Mariel turned her head towards the sound. It was Tarquin and Bowly, they’d burst through camp, and were whacking at the vermin like mad, yelling and screaming battle cries, not really caring who or where they hit with the staves.
“What’s going on?!?!” It was Zannel. The black stoat stormed out of his tent as he questioned a near by rat.
“w-we’re being at-attacked, s-sir.” The rat stuttered.
Zannel looked over at the fight, “It’s only a rabbit an’ a stupid hedgehog. You there,” Zannel pointed to a group of stoats. “Yes, all of you! Go and help those buffoons over there.” The stoats nodded and hurried off to join the battle.
The black stoat was walking back towards his tent, when he noticed the rat he questioned earlier was still standing near him. “What are you still doing here?! Go and fight!” the rat nodded dumbly, took out his dagger, and scurried off to fight.
Once Dandin and Skipper decided that the diversion was working, and made sure Rosie was ready, they headed into the vermin camp. “Ready Skip?” Dandin asked as they neared the ferrets who were guarding Mariel
“Ready when you are Dandin.” Skipper replied.
Dandin nodded. “Now!” he yelled. Skipper and Dandin hit the two ferrets firmly in the back in the head, knocking them out.
“Alright Dan, you think you can do it from here,” Skipper asked as he grabbed the ferrets by their tunic collars, and hid them in the bushes. “while I go an' help Tarquin and Bowly? It looks like their gonna need some help.”
Dandin nodded, and unsheathed Martin the Warrior’s sword. Then he stood next to Mariel, the young warrior noticed for the first time how beat up she really was. The mousemaid was covered in whip lashes, bruised from head to tail, and her fur was matted and stiff from all of the blood.
Mariel looked up at Dandin, “What took you so long?” she teased. But even as she did, Dandin could tell she was worn out, even her eyes didn’t have usual sparkle.
“We had a small delay,” he replied. Dandin lifted the sword, and cut through the ropes that bound Mariel’s paws.
“Finally,” Mariel sighed, “those ropes were really digging into my wrists.” The mousemaid rubbed her paws as Dandin helped her up. As they started walking, Mariel suddenly felt pain shoot through her like an arrow. Dandin turned around when he felt Mariel let go of his paw. “Are you okay?” he asked. As Mariel nodded, they heard a vermin cry out.
“The prisoner’s escaping!”
Grabbing Mariel’s paw, Dandin started to run. “Rosie,” he called out. “they’ve spotted us!”
The harewife jumped out of the foliage, “Rightyo’ chaps! Hope you make it t’ Redwall, wot?” Rosie said while readying her stave. “Thanks Rosie, I owe you one,” turning to Mariel the warrior asked. “Are you sure your alright Mariel?” Mariel winced while trying to avoid a tree root, jutting out of the ground.“I’m fine, just a headache is all.”
“Mariel, we’re almost there!” Dandin said, as Redwall Abbey came into view. They were working their way towards the path, when Mariel tripped over a protruding rock. Making her fall, and pass out.
The last thing she saw, as she hit the ground, was Dandin reaching out, and calling her name,wth a look of surprise, and worry, on his face. Along with something else Mariel couldn’t name.
In Redwall’s infirmary, Dandin sat next to the bed in which Mariel lay, unconscious.
“It’s all my fault,” he said, as Dandin put his head in his paws. “I should’ve never left you, you shouldn’t have gone through all of that. It’s my fault, I’m sorry . . . .”
There were a few moments of silence, save for Mariel’s soft breathing, when Tarquin, Rosie, and Bowly quietly walked into the room.
“Is she alright?” Bowly asked worriedly, looking at the battered form of Mariel. Dandin lifted his head from his paws and nodded.
“Sister Sage said she’d be okay, she’s just plain worn out. From all of the beating, dehydration, and lack of food, not to mention all the running we had to do to get here.”
“Poor thing,” Hon Rosie said sympathetically. “Hope she gets better soon. Look at those terrible cuts and bruises! It’s a wonder she’s still okay.”
“Thank Martin!” Dandin said in agreement. “I don’t know what I would’ve done if she wasn’t able to recover.” He said, looking over at Mariel.
“I say, there’s a lot of nasty whip marks on ‘er too!” Tarquin added. “I’d watch out if I was the vermin who did that to her. If I know Mariel, once she’s recovered, she’s bound to want revenge”
Dandin was about to agree, by reminding them the time Mariel set out to get revenge on Gabool, when Sister Althea and Sister Sage came in.
“Why are there so many creatures around my patient?” Sister Sage asked “She needs space, besides we need to check on her wounds, and clean her up to make sure none of them get infected. So all of you better get out, before a shove you all out myself, you too Dandin.” She said, eyeing the young warrior. “You’ve been here ever since you brought Mariel up into the imfirmery. She’ll be just fine,” seeing the unsure look on Dandin’s face, she added “If anything happens that you need to know about, I’ll send somebeast to fetch you. Now go!” Once the group walked out of the room, Sage slammed the door.
“I don’t know about you chaps but I’m hungry.” Tarquin announced, rubbing his stomach. “I’ll just pop down to the kitchens and get a snack. See you later!” The hare called as he hopped down the stairs.
“Hey,” Bowly called. “Can I come with you!” As he ran after the hare.
“Tch, tch,” Rosie said, shaking her head “Well I’ll see you later Dandin. I’ve gotta make sure those two don’t get themselves in trouble with Friar Burrel again.”
“See you Rosie.” Dandin waved.
Alone, Dandin walked down into the Great Hall. “What to do now?” he breathed. As he asked, Saxtus emerged, walking up from the cellars, holding a basket in his paws. “Oh, hello Dandin.” Abbot Saxtus greeted. “How’s Mariel? Not badly hurt I hope.”
Dandin answered. “Hello Saxtus, Mariel’s fine, she will recover. Sister Sage said she’ll be alright if she rests, eats and drinks properly. Though, she’s still unconscious.”
“I guess those vermin were really rough on her.”
“Not rough, vicious is more like it. You should’ve seen the wounds on her, she was so badly injured you could barely even recognize it was Mariel!”
“Well then, lets hope she recovers quickly.”
Dandin nodded in agreement.
“Would you like to go down to the orchards with me?” the Abbot asked “I promised Durry I’d get him some pears for this new cordial he’s trying out.”
“Sure,” Dandin replied “and maybe we can find Sikpper, I’d like to talk about how we could prepare for the attack Zannel has planned.”
“Oh dear, I’d almost forgotten about that. Yes, we should think about what to do. Oh, I just hate battles and war. So violent, and all the bloodshed. Why can’t they just leave us be?” The Abbot wondered, as he opened the door for them.
“Your guess is as good as mine Sax.” The warriormouse answered “I guess vermin will just be vermin, and the only sure way to stop them, is to play their game.”
The older mouse sighed. “I suppose your right Dandin. I just hate thinking about battle. But I know we have to do it to defend ourselves and the others living here.”
Dandin nodded. “Well if you don’t want to think about it, then start picking, we’re here!” the young warrior reached up and picked a nice juicy pear, and tossed it into the basket.
So the Abbot followed suit and started picking as well.
“I think we’ve gotten enough, Dandin.” Saxtus said as he put one last pear into the basket.
“Alright,” Dandin jumped form the branch he was sitting on. “here I can carry the basket,” and picked up the basket full of pears.
“Thank you, Dandin. I hope there are enough for Durry to use,” the Abbot commented.
“I think this is plenty,” Dandin replied.
As he did so Skipper appeared from behind an apple tree. “Hello Dandin, good evenin’ Father Abbot,” Skipper greeted the mice. Noticing the basket the otter asked, “Wot’re ye gonna do with all o’ these pears?” Rubbing his paws as if readying for a meal.
Saxtus replied with a flicker of amusement, “I promised Durry I would we’d get him some pears for this new cordial he’s creating.” Seeing Skippers disappointment, like the mouse predicted, he added, “Though I’m sure if Durry has any left over he’d be happy to share. Wouldn’t want such good fruit go to waste now, would we?”
“Of course not Father,” Skipper answered obediently shaking his head.
Dandin chuckled, “If we’re finished discussing the fate of fruit, I’d like to talk with you, Skipper, about defending the Abbey. That is after we deliver these pears to Durry.”
"Of course!" The otter replied.
After dropping off the pears, Skipper and Dandin raced off to the Gatehouse, While Saxtus stayed in the cellar with Durry to talk about the upcoming feast.
“Well some of the most common tactics would be: burning down the gate, digging under the wallsm and/or siege.” Skipper said. “So we should definetly be prepared for those, make sure we have a ready food and water supply, and that the moles can supervise the tunnel digging.”
Dandin agreed, “We should also be prepared for just about anything else, vermin always have something up their sleeve. Then, when we put up look-outs, make sure they note every little detail. Because the rat may look like he’s just takin’ a stroll, or he could be looking for weak spots."
Skipper nodded, and was about to go on about weaponry, when there was a knock on the door. “Yes?” The brawny otter called out. The door opened, Bagg, Runn, and Grum stood in the doorway.
“Er, sorry” Runn started “if’n we’re bothering you but. . .”
Bagg finished for his brother. “But it’s time for supper!” the young otter said, licking his lips.
Skipper chuckled, “Alright, alright! C’mon Dan, we can finish talkin’ over a good meal.”
As the group exited the gatehouse, Grubb started to quicken his pace. “Burr, cum on zurrs, we b’ain’t want t’be late fur dinner!”
Dandin and Skipper, had seated themselves next to Saxtus to converse more thoroughly about they wanted everybeast to do.
Dandin was about to take a great bite of Deeper ‘n’ Ever Pie, when he felt a light tap on his shoulder. The warriormouse turned around and saw a squirrelmaid, Sister Althea to be exact. The Sister smiled shyly, “Sorry if I’m disturbing you, but Mariel is starting to wake up.” Dandin needed no second bidding, as soon as Althea had finished her sentence the young mouse had bolted toward the stairs.
“Wot was that all about?” Skipper asked the Sister as he watched Dandin rush up the stairway.
“Is there something wrong?” The Abbot asked worriedly.
The squirrelmaid shook her head, “No, not at all,” she started to twiddle with her habit cord, “Mariel was beginning to awake, so Sister Sage sent me to fetch Dandin. She said that if somebeast didn’t tell that mouse Mariel was waking up, that he’d be in such a fit. So I came down, as quick as I could to tell him. Then he shoots off the minute I stop talking! Dandin must really care about Mariel,” Althea noted.
“Indeed he does,” Abbot Saxtus confirmed, after taking a sip of blackberry wine.
“Aye, of course he does,” Skipper agreed. “Those two’ve been on more adventures than you can shake a stick at. Enough time to build a whole lot o’ trust.” The otter said, as he bit into out of a roll.
“Well I’d better go now,” Sister Althea said, “Sister Sage will have my fur if I’m not back soon.” The squirrelmaid bid her good-bye, then ascended the steps.
The pain surged through her like an electric shock, as Mariel became conscious. Though she had yet to open her eyes. While she groaned a bit, she could hear talking in the background. Suddenly she felt a paw clasp hers.
Mariel opened her eyes, Dandin was sitting next to her on a chair, beside her bed. He was smiling. She smiled back. Then Mariel glanced down at her paw, wondering if who-she-thought-it-was, was actually holding it. She was right.
“Do you –“ Mariel started, but Dandin had also begun to say something. Dandin blushed with embarrassment. “You go first,” the mousemaid offered.
Dandin nodded, “How’re you feeling?”
“Fine,” Mariel answered, while trying to sit up, “except for the fact that my head feels like bursting, and I’m sore practically all over my body. Other than that, I’m great,” She joked. “But just wait ‘till I get my paws on those stinkin’ vermin! Especially that black rat with the whip,” the warriormaid felt her anger rising. “When I get the chance I’ll –“
“Mariel, calm down,” Dandin put a paw on her shoulder. Mariel took a deep breath. “You shouldn’t stress yourself over that right now, you need to focus on getting better.” He said gently.
“I know, but you know how I feel about vermin!” Mariel reminded him.
Dandin nodded, then looked at her thoughtfully. “I was really worried about you when you passed out like that, to tell you the truth it scared me,” the warrior admitted.
The mousemaid gave a small smile, calming down a bit “I’m glad,”
“Glad?” Dandin was surprised at her answer. “Why would you be glad that I was worried sick about you?!”
“I know you care about me. . .” She replied with a yawn.
“Of course I care about you Mariel, I–you’re my. . .” He started to say, but Mariel had fallen asleep. “best friend,” Dandin finished. “Mariel?”
Sister Sage came over and pulled the blankets higher over Mariel. “Let her sleep she needs the rest,” she whispered, so she wouldn’t wake Mariel. Dandin nodded, he got up to leave, but felt his arm being held back. The mouse looked down.
Mariel was still holding his paw.
Zannel barged into his tent, grumbling something about his horde being idiots, and nincompoops. As he sat on his throne, he called Barran.
The brown ferret rushed in and bowed, “Yes, m’lord?” he asked obediently.
“How far are we from that Abbey?” Zannel inquired.
“Less than a days march,” Barran responded.
“Good,” The stoat nodded, “How soon will the horde be willing to pack up and go?”
“Anytime you command, especially after the talk you gave ‘em this mornin’.”
Zannel smiled deviously, “Excellent, tell them were leaving first thing in the morning. And I don’t wanna hear a word of complaint outta any of ‘em; Barran, your dismissed.”
The ferret bowed out, “As you wish, m’lord.” Leaving Zannel with his malicious thoughts. . .
Barran stepped into the middle of the camp, and started to shout Zannel’s demand. “Lord Zannel has commanded that we leave for the Abbey first thing in the morning; no complaining or grumbling from any of you lay-about’s. And that’s an order!” the ferret glared across the crowed of listening vermin. “Continue with you duties, that is all.” Barran walked off, as the horde divided into groups to discuss Zannel’s order.
“Great, now we have to wake up early.” A dusky brown stoat muttered to his companions.
“Getting’ up early’s nothin’, Koran,” a black vixen retorted to the stoat. “But now we have t’go off an’ get revenge ‘cause Zannel can’t keep a stupid prisoner.” She growled.
“We wouldn’t have to do this if you didn’t tell Barran that dumb legend, Rabora,” A black rat with a whip snapped back at the vixen.
“Are you saying this is my fault?!” Rabora hissed, her paw straying to the hilt of her dagger. “’Cause if you are, Varik, we can always find a way settle it….”
Varik was about to argue back when Koran stepped between the two. “Now c’mon guys, we’re just tired, it’s been a long day. We should probably get some rest. Besides, don’t you remember what happened last time?”
Varik looked down at the ground sheepishly. Rabora scratched the back of her neck in embarrassment. “Don’t remind me,” the vixen groaned.
“You might be right,” Varik supposed. “I’m But that still doesn’t change my opinion; you should’ve never told Barran about that Abbey.” The rat growled. “I’ll see yew two t’morrow.” And he stalked off to his tent.
“Well see you Koran,” Rabora bid the stoat good night.
Dandin awoke to the sun shinning in his eyes, light pouring through the window. Stretching, he got out of bed, washed his face with water in the basin across the room, and got dressed into a fresh green robe.
Before he descended the stairs for breakfast, Dandin peeked into the infirmary to check on Mariel. She was still sleeping. He smiled, though he couldn’t help thinking how attractive she looked; how her headfur framed her soft, but weathered face, the way she looked beautiful even though she was wearing a plain white gown; then mentally slapping himself for letting himself think those thoughts. Shaking his head, he closed the door, and headed down to Cavern Hole.
When Dandin entered the room, he found a seat next to Saxtus, who was talking with Skipper at the moment. Dandin nibbled on a strawberry scone, and was taking a few sips of cordial when a he heard Skipper call his name. “Do you wanna patrol the walls with me after brekkers?” The otter asked before stuffing a bite of toast in his mouth.
Setting down his cup, Dandin nodded, “Good idea, I’ll join you in a bit.” The mouse replied. Skipper nodded as he gathered his plate and cup to put away. “I’ll be on the East rampart waitin’.” Without wating for Dandin to say something back, the otter placed his dishes into the dirty dishes bin, and started up the stairs.
“Good morning, Dandin,” Abbot Saxtus said, turning to the warrior. “I trust you had a good night’s rest?”
“Aye, best sleep I’ve gotten in a while actually,” Dandin admitted, taking a bite of blueberry muffin.
The Abbot nodded, “So how’s Mariel?”
“Much better,” The warrior replied. “Though, as expected still pretty worn-out.”
Saxtus wiped his mouth with a napkin. “Well, I assume you were going to patrol the walls with Skipper?”
Dandin took a swift gulp of cordial, and wiped his chin with the back of his paw. “You’re right,” grabbing a biscuit , Dandin excused himself. “I’ll see you later Sax!” And headed out the door.
As Dandin made his way up the steps, he saw Skipper running towards him. “Dandin, you’re here! I was just about to get you,” The otter said frantically.
“Skipper, what’s wrong?” The warriormouse asked.
Skipper opened his mouth to speak, but then decided against it. “Here, I’ll just show you.” And beckoned Dandin to follow him.
When the two reached the Southern Ramparts, Skipper pointed with a claw. Dandin looked to where the otter was pointing, and gasped.
Up ahead, coming towards the Abbey was a horde of vermin. The exact same ones that had captured Mariel. “They’re here....” Dandin whispered.
“Aye, Lord,” The ferret agreed, “She’ll make a fine castle,”
Zannel gave a sly smile, “But the building’s not all I want, no, I want that treasure, and my revenge. . .”
“Aye, an’ you will have it too. Those woodlanders are peaceful beasts, it’ll be an easy victory.”
“Just the thing the horde needs, a victory to ensure their respect of me, or at least my authority.”
The group of vermin was about twenty feet away from the walls of the Abbey, when Zannel ordered them to halt. “Alright ya pansies, set up camp here!” The chief commanded.
The captains of the horde gave smart salutes, before ordering the others to their tasks.
“Come, Barran,” Zannel began, “Lets introduce ourselves to the neighbors, shall we?” the stoat smirked.
Barran nodded, “Aye, let’s,”
Dandin, Skipper, and a few other otters, were perched upon the walltops, watching the robed stoat and well dressed ferret approach the Abbey gate.
“Why good day my fine sirs,” The robed stoat shouted from the ground, “My band and I have been wandering around for a long while now and have run out of supplies. Because we have, most of us are weak and tired, and I was wondering that, perhaps, you are able to spare just a bit of food and water? What do you say?”
Skipper scowled and threw his javelin, pinning the hem of Zannel’s robe. “That’s what I say! So get yer stinkin’ vermin away from this place, we don’t treat kindly to the likes of ye!”
“Fine,” The stoat shrugged, “But just remember, I have enough to take the whole lot of you down,” Zannel tugged his robe from the javelin. “Come, Barran,”
Barran grabbed the javelin, “Would you like me to return their weapon, sire?” There was a small gleam in the ferret’s eye.
“By all means, though, make sure you do it gently,” The ferret answered whilst making his way towards the horde.
“Aye, lord,” The ferret closed one eye and took aim. Then with surprising strength, hurled the javelin to the wall tops.
Dandin gasped, and ducked quickly as the tip just grazed the top of his head.
Barran gave a satisfied grin and hurried after Zannel.
As the pair left, Skipper gave Dandin a smack on the back, “Nice reflexes, mate,” The brawny otter chuckled “Who knew such a scrawny ferret had an arm like that!”
“Aye, an Mariel would’ve been angry t’find out she ‘ad t’ share th’ infirm’ry with ye,” One of the other otters teased.
“Better watch out for that one,” Dandin remarked, “C’mon, we’d better report this to Saxtus,”
Skipper nodded in agreement, “Right,” Then he turned to the otters on the wall, “Alright crew, keep yore eyes sharp, an’ if’n ye see anythin’suspicious, report it immediately to either me or Dandin. Got it?”
The otters nodded, “Aye, aye, Skipper!”
“I thought you said they weren’t warriors!” Zannel exclaimed when he and Barran entered the large tent.
“They aren’t, most are peace lovers, though it’s not unusual for one or two to have reasonable fighting skills.” Barran answered, “besides, it could’ve just been a lucky shot.”
Zannel sighed, “I suppose,”
“Don’t worry, with your plan, there’s no doubt we can lose.” Barran reassured with a wicked smile.