The epic warrior saves the day, the less athletic swoon and sway,

When will come the day where brains and thought can show the way?

The old mouse looked up from the parchment and put his inkstick to his mouth. He thought about the friends, stories, and wars that made up the bigger tale.

He put ink to paper and wrote Not today.

Chapter 1

The lone otter crossed the snowy ground. She loped about on all fours. She had a dark green headband and two spears crossed in an "X" strapped to her back. Her paws were numb, and as she thought about stopping for the evening, the sounds of the old forest made her sleepyness drift away.

"Somebeast...could be there." Pushing herself onto her hind paws, she wobbled unsteadily as she scoped out a place to hide. A dark tree was a few feet away, perfect camoflauge for her dark fur. Since she had since walked past it, she was careful to step in her own tracks as she gripped the ground.

Soon, she was at the base of the tree. Moonlight filtered through the branches, casting long, still shadows on the ground around her. Pulling out a spear, she swung it around the lowest branch and pulled herself up. She pulled out the other one and swung it around a higher branch. Bending down to pick up the first one, she kept climbing until she was a few branches away from the weakest ones at the top. She shifted her weight, hoping she wouldn't be seen from the ground.

Looking down, she decided that it was safe enough for now. Weapons leaning across from her against the tall base, she pulled the well worn travel bag in her lap, opened it up, and took out a small book and charcoal stick.

She flipped to an empty page. Thank you for snow. Getting the feeling back into my paws hurts more than the snow's effect. For taking me through the massacre. Filodar was the only home I had ever known, but it's gone. As are Mum, Dad, Ziala...even more, maybe the Pinescratch tribe is okay. Will they wonder where I've gone? Do they think I had something to do with the slaughter? I hope that no. But what can I do now?

Easy. The usual course of arrangement. But I know that I'll need to make myself stronger, through allies, training, and a bit of luck to make this a story folks will want to read, even myself.

Point is, I should not have tried to raise the dead. But since the Fox Devil is upon the earth once more, why not do it again?

With that, Ruega closed her book, tucked it away, and tried to fell asleep. She couldn't, and settled for watching the clouds drift across the moon. Occasionally, she would look at the long, faded tattoo that ran from her right footpaw and stopped at her knee--bright orange and yellow leaves flying in a wind.

The mark of the Caller.

It would be seen like a beacon to the damned souls resurrected by that night's events. Sadly, running away like a coward was the only option.

Eventually, a light sleep managed to steal over her, body still on alert.

Chapter 2

Daylight came, and it found Ruega with sore, red-rimmed eyes. Her dreams had been all dark, but she could hear her best pal, Yegga, yelling and shouting, searching.

"Rue! Isa! Somebe--!"

Her calls stopped, and after a few more moments, an deep, otherworldly voice would call. "If you'd like, Zardon."

The sniggering of some nasty beast. "Thankee, m'lady Vulka!"

The dream would repeat again. And again. After the umpteenth time, still in her sleep, Rue would grab her spear and stab it deep in front of her, goring the tree. When she awoke, she saw the damage.

Taking both weapons, she leveled herself back to the ground. Looking above, she could not see the sun for the overcast. It was a hot, muggy sort of day, where the heat stays close to the earth.

Ears straining, she took out an apple and took a bite, chewing slowly, and started walking due south, not knowing where she was bound. What is there to do in this land?

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