Ships sat lifelessly on the ocean; it still without a disturbance. Below the ships' decks, all life either sleep or in the the chamber of Aerona the Slaughter. This stoat beautiful had the beauty of a otter gal but the mind of a man beast.

Aerona used her mind to get her desire; a fortress. She had a large gang of vermin, whom was all under her order. 'Magic' was also a weapon used to her, plus a large pitchfork with three tips. A badger medallion hung around her neck, heavy and shinning. Several ear rings sat in her ears, making them droop a bit. Bracelets clanked on her wrist, wide and open. But the only thing the could be seen in the darkness was her villainous violet eyes. Aerona spoke with cruelness added to it, giving it a deathly tone.

"Salamandastron...Salamandastron; sounds sharp." she laughed silently. "Like a newly made blade, curved by the most precious of paws." Aerona stood up, robs waving freely out the chair. Walking to the table nearby, she peered at it. A map laid flat, of the new country she was going to conquer. "Mossflower. And look at that-" her claw poked a spot on the map. "Redwall Abbey; not as nice, but I can make somthin' out of it."

Leaving her den, Aerona came aboard deck; but her crew were nowhere in sight. The stay of the other ships, this one she commanded alone. The stars hovered above the stoat; up, far up. To her, only a paw's reach. Aerona reached out, and made her paw into a fist; like she grabbed a orb of light.

Holding it back to her, she whispered in a high voice...

Little stripe dog, little rabbits,
your fate has come.
For I have accepted,
the goal undone.
Your mountain is free,
enjoy now.
For Aerona's the one,
to take it down.
So little stripe one,
little striped one,
Take your hares.
Leave the place,
where hell isn't rare.
But I, Aerona, promise this,
little stripe one and hares
You must think now...
'cause your death nears.

The finally part rung out over the ocean's surface like waves. So high, so deadly. Pinya Dillworty jolted up in her bed; looking over her window, she saw nothing; but she knew what she heard. Place on a clean smock over her night clothes, she ran out, shouting.

"Mu'lord! Mu'lord! Aerona the Slaughter, she comes!"

Book 1: Death Nears

Chapter One

Pinya followed her father, General Mainal e'Dillworty, them walking through the mountain's halls. She walked in a sulking pace behind him as he shouting on and on.

"Very bad form Pinya! Wakin' up everyhare, soundin' the alarm about Aerona the Slaughter comin' to our shores?! Wot, wot?" Manial glared at his still young daughter; her saddened features, orange fur losing it's shine, and her ears drooped. He couldn't see her this way; never. "Pinya; now ya know what you did was bally wrong thing, but don't cry." he ruffled the small patch of hair on her head. "Now, go see ya mum and try to get and early breakfast."

Happily, Pinya ran to the kitchens, where her mother was one of the cooks. Wandering into the hot kitchens, an lovely aroma filled her nose.

"Mmm, I smell a nice carrot and turnip soup calling my name..." her eyes caught the sight of the pot, and she took a spoon to paw. Edging closer to it, before Pinya had a snip, a paw slapped her's. "Ow! What the bally toot was thut for, wot?!"
The hare's mother, Nareina, wiggled her nose at her. "Ye not takin' a sip till breakfast; and till Lord Rockpaw wakes up. Huh, huh, thut large badger can sleep until the season of falling stars!" Grabbing the pot from the stove, she asked Pinya a simple question. "Why did ya wake up screamin' 'bout a jolly an ol' slaughter?"

Pinya ran after her mother deeper into the kitchens, and answered as she did. It was like Nareina was trying to do her cooking and annoy her at the same time. 'Aerona' this and 'Slaughter' that; she wouldn't stop. The old one finally hushed her daughter up.

"Okay; why don't ye go and gather everyhare up and see if ol' Rockpaw's awake. 'an ye do thut, Pinya?" the hare-maid nodded, and ran.

Breakfast was the same, the hundred or so hares at the large table, with Lord Rockpaw at one end, and his daughter Braxan on the other. She sat silently, scoffing down some honeyed oatmeal. Rockpaw didn't touch his meal, but looked at the hares that sat around him. Mainal on his left, taking down eveything that was brought to him, and Captain Oria to his right. The pretty hare laughed and joked around with her friends, and he just grinned at her as she looked his way. Braxan rose when Pinya came to the table, and greeting the badger with paw shake. How he hated that maid, waking up everyone, yelling about someone coming to kill them all; she was so stupid! Rockpaw watched them; his daughter listen to what Pinya told; maybe about what happened last night. The lord interrupted them as he stood up.

"Pinya." she looked up at him, smile shyly. "What do you have to say? Hm?" he asked, as calmly as he could.
Her brown eyes just looked more worried the more she tried to speak. "Umm, good question Mu'lord. Err..let's see," Pinya saw his looked, and just knew to be quite. "Umm, yeah.." The badger got up, walked to her, and stood up mush taller than she was.
"Young maid; do you know what you have done? Shouting in the middle of the night, that someone's coming to kill us all?" Braxan looked at her father wanting to speak up. She did. "How you know father?! What's Pinya says is maybe true."
Rockpaw looked at her coldly, and growled. "Or, maybe it was just a dream..." taking her eyes back to Pinya, he growled even louder. "This is the third time this season you have caused a disturbance in Salamandastron. I'll tell you this now; next time something like this happens again, it will banishment."

Pinya gulped, and the hares gasped. Not was she only scared, but she just got embarrassed in front of all her friends. Wincing at something almost clawing her arm, she found Mainal dragging her to her room; looking back, Pinya saw Braxan's sorry look and the others chuckling.

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