As daylight faded o’er Mossflower woods, Abbess Roxanne lay down her quill and glasses, estimating that this would be about the time the bells sounded for dinner. As she strode out of the gatehouse, which she and every other gatekeeper before her had tended and made their home, the distinct velvet thunder of the bells gave voice to their relaxed mood. Bong! .......Bong! ...... As usual, the strong, well-kept hare was right. It was her belief that misjudging the time of meals was a crime worse than all, and she made a point to keep herself a law-abiding citizen of this statement. As she walked into Great Hall, she was greeted by her assistant and best friend, Yazar Lightbrush, an unusually short squirrel who joined Rox in her law of mealtimes.

Despite his stout, portly stature, Yazar was deadly with a bow, and was a skilled craftsman of all manner of crossbows, slings, bows, javelins, and spears. He and Rox were both from the deep south of the great beige expanse known by its residents as the Wastes. Here, very little life flourished, and the few settlements dotted here and there were stringent in their storage of valueables. Most of their food consisted of carrion and occasional migratory seabirds. It had been as rough existence, but the two friends had survived it, and they so longed to travel beyond the desolate vastness of this bountiless place, so one morning their settlement had awoken to find them gone, along with 3 days’ supply of food. They had journeyed north, far beyond the limit of their victuals. When they had eventually reached the edge of Mossflower, they were emaciated, half-dead, and almost literally fur and bone. A kind volemaid by the name of Deesan had found them on the brink of exhaustion and beset by buzzards. Three seasons it was before they were fit enough to travel again, and only so under the guidelines of Deesan, whom had herself made such a journey many times in the past, as she was a traveller. They had reached Redwall Abbey on the 5th day of their continued exodus, and the kindly creatures residing there took them in, where they became productive, useful workers.

“Hey, Rox! Looks like ye’ll be down to supper soon, so I told the cook to prepare your favorite --- Summer Salad!” Roxanne promptly raced down to Cavern Hole, which had been her favorite haunt ever since she was named Abbess. She and Yazar detested the noise and ambience of dinner in Great Hall, so they took to the rarely used place warmly. Also, during her explorations of the abandoned and vacant parts of the abbey roof and cellars, she had discovered a veritable treasure trove of writings stocked by someone with the knowledge of Shellscript, the native writing language used by the people of the Wastes. She dedicated most of her waking time to deciphering the ancient, faded text and putting it into understandable terms. She had accrued many piles of translated work, but she had hardly even so much as finished a fraction of all the books and scrolls. This, too, was a reason she favored Cavern Hole. A part of what she had uncovered so far seemed to be a riddle of sorts. It had an air of mystery and prophecy around it, and she had not figured out what it meant or if it meant much at all. It had been there perhaps the longest, due to the extreme fading and yellowing of the parchment. She picked up the translation of it and reviewed it. Who knows, maybe it might come to her by scanning it for the 600th time.

Along the shore, comes a beast

Mighty Bow, erine-vlow

Uncommon is he, hero shall be

He, who casts down own kin

He, take up meteor shard

Cast thine revenge, justice be done

Celebrate the day, has he won?

Over and over did this puzzle Rox, who considered herself a great riddle solver. She had dedicated much of her time to try and solve it, and had all but resigned herself to let fate reveal it to her in time. And unbeknownst to her, that time was near……

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