I wrote this story to connect the Galedeeps from High Rhulain to Finbarr Galedeep.

The Short Tale of Varza Galedeep, Son of Finbarr Galedeep

Chapter One: A Destiny Forged

Varza Galedeep was lucky that the ship had been stolen in the shallows, for that was where he lay now. A massive chest wound had forced him to lose consciousness, but everyone else took him for dead.

"Arr, sea dog's got a mighty death grip on this here sword, by the Maelstrom!" exclaimed Slipp, who so dearly wanted to plunder the sharp, refined, well-made cutlass that the young otter possessed.

"Aye, the pore thing, Ah feel sorry fer the other sea dogs we slain," lamented the boatswain, Blaggut. He received a fine beating from his captain.

"Coward! Have ye gone soft already? Stop yer whinin' and help me plunder this ship!" Blaggut reluctantly complied.

Varza had been taken to the shore, for the gulls to peck his skeleton clean. Had Varza been really dead, this would have been the case.

                                     * * * 

Varza woke up, sore and bleeding. He was always a beast of action, so he looked for some cloth to bind his wound. It was clotting, but still a hindrance. After his medical needs had been attended to, he started to gather his wits.

"Filthy searats slew my family. Took the ship. Ran away. At least I got my sword." contemplated Varza. He had to do something to survive. Being a wise beast, revenge was secondary to him.

In a few hours, Varza had a tent ready. It was a fairly large tent, hidden behind a boulder in the woods. No one would find him, and everyone who saw his tent would pass it off as foliage, or the more observant ones would take it as discarded cloth. His dwelling was ready.

Water was plentiful, as a river was flowing near his tent. Food, however, was scarce. He returned to the searat campsite, and what he saw was the ruins of a few tents. They were almost perfectly intact, and probably had resources like food inside. The first tent had nothing, but the second tent was laden with food- as well as a dead searat. Varza saw this searat be killed by Slipp for attacking him. The reason for that minor revolt was unknown to Varza, and he did not care either. One less searat would roam the earth, and Varza got his food. Loading it all in a sack, he carried it back to his tent.

With all his needs taken care of, he wondered what to do with all the tents at the abandoned searat campsite. An idea then struck him.

Varza took the cloth, wood and stakes from the campsite and made some more tents of his own near his main tent. He would store his food in one tent, weapon cache in another, and whatever tents he found no use for, he kept. Varza was a resourceful beast, and with whatever little resources he had, he made a dwelling with more than he could ask for.

Chapter Two: A Friendship Created

Varza was sitting in his newly built tent, meditating. He had learned that meditation will bring your body into balance. Varza had long ago thrown away any feelings of malice toward searats- if he killed one, it was to protect others, not to get revenge.

"Nice tent ya got thar!" remarked a ferret who had strayed into Varza's tent. He had the most peculiar accent, and had a face that looked strangely kind for a vermin.

"State your business or die." Varza, quick as lightning, grabbed his cutlass and had it aimed at the ferret's throat.

"Have no fear, it is only Growsus, travvela o' tha woods. I would not harm a fly."

"Then what is your business, vermin?"

"My business is to travval, become one with nature. I live my life, and live off the land. And please, call me Growsus. It hurts when creatures call me the vermin that I'm not." Growsus looked hurt.

"Well...I'm sorry I insulted you. I've had a bad run in with vermin before." Varza pointed to his chest wound.

Suddenly Growsus started laughing. "Hahahar! Do ya think that a piece of cloth will help you? This plant will heal it in no time." He pulled out a herb from his sack. "Apply it to the wound, an' it will heal well." He offered the herb to Varza.

"Amazing! This herb really does work! Thank you, Growsus!" exclaimed Varza after applying the herb.

"No, thank you. You are the first beast who trusted me. All others," he said sadly, "tried to kill me."

                                    * * *

Varza knew that he would get lonely, so he readily accepted Growsus as a friend. Varza also decided to let the ferret healer stay at his dwelling, because he had more than enough tents.

Growsus was also very intelligent, and he suggested that the main tent should be between the food and weapon tents as opposed to Varza's previous arrangement. Varza decided he would rather listen to someone who knew the woods like the back of his paws, rather than his own marine instincts.

"I should warn ya though: these woods are swarmin' with what ya would call "vermin". They will take your food, plunder your possessions, and then slay you."

"I have my cutlass, where is your weapon?" inquired Varza. Growsus merely pointed to his legs.

"If I kill someone, I'm no better than tha one who tried ta kill me."

Varza noted the difference between his slightly warlike attitude and the ferret's pacifistic attitude. The would still get along well, though.

                                    * * *

The ship, Shalloo, had just been destroyed in the Maelstrom.

Chapter 3: Action, Conflict, and Shock

Varza was busying himself with weapon making. Even one dozen metal-tipped javelins in his weapon cache was not good enough for Varza.

"'Ey, don't ya think that tvelve spears are enough for a whole war?" inquired Growsus. He had no idea that these javelins were meant for throwing.

"These are for throwing," stated the otter. "You should help make some. After all, there is plenty of iron available. I stole some from a searat camp."

"Ya mean the searat camp. I been there right after I saw an otter leave." Growsus looked at Varza when he said "otter". "Oh ya, I have ta leave on my daily herb-collecting rounds. Perhaps ya could come and lend me a hand, and learn a thing or two about these woods- and the herbs."

                                   * * *

Growsus had also learnt something. The duo had come across a duo of weasels, and they looked hungry.

"The game's up, streamdog. Give us yer food, and whatever possessions ya have, and maybe us lettin' ya go free," said a particularly huge weasel with a spiked club.

"We don' need ta tell youse how many beasts we killed," said a small weasel with a high voice. He carried a rusty halberd that looked like it would break any minute.

"These bunch are the Spikas, nasty, cowardly weasels who prey on innocent travvalas. The big un is Splikk, and the runty un is Skopch," explained Growsus. Varza tossed him a light javelin.

"Growsus, just concentrate on defending yourself." Varza drew his cutlass. "I'll take on the tub of grease, and you take on the little beetle."

The two weasels were used to slaying helpless travelers, and were never insulted or threatened.

Varza immediately charged Splikk with his sword. The weasel's club was no match for well-refined steel. After Splikk's club was destroyed, the same cutlass took Splikk's life. He would never kill anybeast again.

Growsus, not knowing how a javelin was used, just whacked Skopch's halberd with it. The rusty, rotten weapon broke immediately. Growsus stabbed Skopch's leg, and then yelled, "When I count to three, ya better hobble away! One..."

The weasel had already scurried off.

Varza looked at the weasel he had slain, and spat on him. Then he searched for whatever resources Splikk might have, but all he found was some baubles. Varza pocketed them in case he could use them.

Growsus had recovered from his battle shock quite rapidly, as he didn't kill anyone.

"Wait!" exclaimed the ferret. "I think one of those baubles was mine!"

                                    * * *

Growsus examined his long-lost talisman. "This is a sacred object. A wolf fang on a cord is a symbol of latent power, but not immediate violence. I was gifted this as a youngun, an' the darty weasels took it. Thanks to ya, I got it back. But what'll ya do with the other trinkets?

"Keep them as bargaining tools. I might need them someday. Besides, now is the time for me to fight for righteousness."

Growsus listened patiently to his friend.

"The pirate crew of the searat Graraz has come ashore. Slipp's abandoned camp has been torn down to make room for Graraz's crew. Supplies will be abundant. Every night, I shall sneak in, kill a few searats, and snag some supplies. I now make my mark on the world."

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