The Final Dream

Chapter 1

What if Felldoh didn’t die? This is my outlook on things.

The sounds of battle faded slowly as blood oozed from the wound the spear had brought. Looking down Felldoh could see the end producing from him and the crimson liquid spilling from around it. “Felldoh!!” He could hear his name being called out as the darkness slowly smothered his vision. “Sorry Martin” whispered Felldoh as he fell to the ground.

It was almost silent when Felldoh awoke. Only the sound of mad laughter from the pit was heard vibrating thought the fortress once called Marshank. The air was stale and reeked of blood and death. Blood covered his body and flesh wounds everywhere. He looked around and winced as he looked to his stab wound. It missed from killing him by a whisker’s breath. After crawling to the gate he picked up a broken spear and used it as a lean and marched off to the woods, determination gleaming in his eye, his warrior heart striving to live. It was the zenith of the day when Felldoh stopped and rested between the roots of a large tree. Hunger tore at his stomach as well as pain as he felt his wound open again to bleed. Gritting his teeth Felldoh lay there not in full unconsciousness but not yet awake. By nightfall the air grew cold and Felldoh awoke shivering. Using his large tail he tried to warm himself though he failed to do so. He opened his eyes once more to see a light in the darkness move towards him. “Time for me to go eh? Martin matey, I guess I really am going first” Felldoh talked to himself before falling into unconsciousness.

Walking though the bushes she could see a slumped figure huddled between the roots of a giant oak. Cautiously moving the lamp in front of her the squirrelmaid walked over to see who or what it was. Gasping at the sight the squirrelmaid saw in horror a badly wounded squirrel who looked about as good as dead, if it weren’t so for the heavy breathing she would have thought him to be gone. Looking around for any enemies and finding none she blew a sharp whistle. Immediately two creatures came from the bushes in the direction she came from. One a lean gray stoat with a large scar stretching from his stop to the jaw, the other a red fox with gold earrings and wearing a dark cloak. “Who’d you find?” the Stoat asked with curiosity. “A male Squirrel. I need you to help me carry him back to camp.” The Squirrelmaid ordered with no fear of the two vermin. “Whatever you say missy” the Fox laughed with a mock bow. Angrily the squirrelmaid kicked the fox in the shin, causing a yelp to rip from his mouth. The Fox leaned against a tree smarting while the stoat carried the wounded squirrel and the Squirrelmaid carrying the Stoat’s lamp and spear. The Fox limped along muttering a string of words under his breath though careful not to be heard by the squirrelmaid.

Waking up Felldoh found himself lying on a soft blanket, his wounds cleaned and treated well with clean band-aids wrapped around his middle where the large stab wound was. Looking around he quickly scowled finding himself in the company of a fox, a vermin fox. By now all foxes reminded the young squirrel of Scalrag who had died in Badrang’s paws. “You awake Mate?” the Fox asked in a strangely friendly way. Felldoh though knew that they were sly and crafty and looked around for a weapon. The fox himself was sharpening a knife. “Who are you?” Felldoh growled between his clenched teeth. “Well I’m Kieran. What tis’ your name mate?” the Fox inquired. “No need for vermin to know” Felldoh grabbed a wooden club and jumped on Kieran. Startled by the noise the Squirrelmaid rushed in to find that the squirrel she treated was bearing his teeth at Kieran like a beast. “Stop! Stop!” She called for order. Felldoh looked up at the female voice and found that it belonged to a Squirrelmaid wearing a blue tunic. Her fur was sable though the tips of her ears and tail were gray; her eyes were the color of the sea on calm days. Felldoh got off the fox named Kieran and walked over to the squirrelmaid. “Did they catch you too?” he asked looking at the female in shock. To him she was in no doubt beautiful and charming to all extent. “What in fool’s name are you talking about Sir?” she asked in surprise. “the vermin, did they capture you too?” Felldoh asked. He waited for an answer from her soft voice. “The Squirrel called me Vermin! I’ve never been so insulted in my life!” Kieran sat up and pointed to the male squirrel like a babe would when in a temper. “It's cause you look like 'un Kieran, really you were sharpening your knife collection when you sat watch over him you dofus!” the squirrelmaid whacked the fox over the head causing Felldoh to watch in dumbfounded silence. “Sorry 'bout that mate. He 'aint got half the brains of you'n me” the squirrelmaid chuckled. “I 'eard that Fallon!” Kieran pouted, arms crossed. “I know you did, I was just teasin' ya. I'll get ya some vittles um..... sir squirrel” Fallon patted Felldoh's back lightly before turning away for some grub.

Felldoh, confused sat back down on the blanket and leaned against the tent wall. Kieran stood by the door watching for Fallon. “Who is she?” Felldoh asked Kieran. “Who? Fallon?” Kieran being slightly slow asked the obvious. “Yes. Who is she?” Felldoh asked again. “ our leader. The leader of our group really, she leads us and she treats us like family. Her father used to be leader till last season when he died protecting us from a group of evil ferrets and foxes and stoats.” Kieran said with a sigh. “'e was like a father to everyone here.” “Sorry....” All was silent till Fallon came in with wooden dishes piled with food and three beakers of water. “Here ya go mate, you must be 'ungry since I heard your stomach cryin' for food earlier when doing your band-aids.” Fallon winked at the slightly blushing male squirrel. “Thanks” Felldoh fell into silence as he started to munch on the roasted nuts, ripe berries and fish. “Not much of a talker eh?” Fallon asked handing Kieran his plate and beaker then sitting close beside Felldoh. “I'm gonna eat outside with the rest of the folks. Crowded in this tent with three beasts.” Kieran left the tent and went over by the fire to eat with the others. “Why are you with these Vermin?” Felldoh asked breaking the silence. “I would prefer if you don't call them Vermin sir” Fallon said sipping from her beaker and dropping her other language to a more civilized one. “Felldoh, I'm Felldoh son of Barkjon” Felldoh introduced himself to the squirrelmaid. “Well nice to meet you Felldoh son of Barkjon. I'm Fallon daughter of Whitt Treestumbler” Fallon answered back with a grin. “But anyways, why are you with these....other creatures?” Felldoh asked. “They are family. Some of these creatures were vermin as you call them. Ex-assasins, rulers, killers. Others were put unto us by parents who wanted their children to escape from a bad life. Some orphans. Father took them in as he was a brave warrior, I live to walk in his paw steps and carry on his legacy as a traveling protector to all creatures.” Fallon stopped for a moment and sniffled thinking about her father's death. “Father was killed in a battle with Badrang and his horde last season. I watched him fall as is my duty to see my father off in the end.” Fallon stood up and rummaged around in a bag and pulled out another beaker. “Oktober ale, one of the finest” Fallon winked and brought out two cups. Handing one to Felldoh she poured him a glass. “You're the first squirrel to be in this group for this long. When you're healed you have the freedom to choose what to do. Leave us, stay with us, Kill off everyone here” Fallon joked about the last part. “I guess I'll travel with you. My friends think I'm dead...Badrang was killed a couple days ago. I guess my friend Martin did that.” Felldoh chuckled as he watched the dark liquid slosh around in the cup. “Hm...I hope Father's a peace now.” Fallon downed her glass in one gulp. “You ain't like other Squirrelmaids I've met.” Felldoh commented. “Well, you can't live in a dress and run around the forest, train, rarely battle, and have contests like I do.” she looked at her blue tunic which was slightly faded around the edge. “you make it sound like I should be in a dress walking around like a bird, batting my lashes” “N-no that's not it!” Felldoh stumbled. “I was joking!” Fallon placed a paw on his shoulder and sighed. “Well it's nice to see a squirrel other than my pops.” “Well how did you end up with this group?” Felldoh asked sipping some ale. “Father brought everyone, orphans, the injured and things.” Fallon shrugged. “Does everyone like each other?” Felldoh nervously asked. “Yeah, we are a big family. We even had some births fourteen nights ago. The gypsy seer-cum-medicine fox helped the Mousewife and she had a strong son. The family left to live in the woods since they thought the constant moving wouldn't be good for the babe.” Fallon stood up with her empty plate and walked over to a small table and placed it there. “Oh right I almost forgot. You can pick any of the tents, This one is mine and used to be father's.” “I don’t know…” Felldoh stood up with his own empty plate and placed it where Fallon had left hers. “You can stay here till you get to know the other members here.” Fallon suggested. “Thanks.” Felldoh and Fallon left the tent to meet the other creatures at camp. Outside by a large fire there were dozens of creatures singing and dancing to drums and flutes. Felldoh saw the fox named Kieran sitting by the fire with a mouse and a hedgehog, joking with them and laughing. “it really looks like a large family, no such thing of discrimination here is there?” asked Felldoh. “Nay” Fallon shook her head and sighed “it's all n' peaceful like here, the only times there are fights are when other beasts try to hurt us. Our warriors here are Myself, Kieran as you probably guessed, Harry was the stoat that carried you here, Rumbler the Hedgehog; the one sittin' beside Kieran, Riverrush the otter sterin' the stew; he's also our cook...” Fallon kept going telling the new squirrel who does what and their names. “Oi! You lot we're havin' a feast for Felldoh here! He decided to stay!” Fallon yelled loudly to the surrounding creatures. “Felldoh eh? Nice name you have” Riverrush grinned as he poured some more stew in a bowl “want some more stew?” asked he to the shocked squirrel. Felldoh was surprised at how friendly everyone was. “You might be able to tame our she-squirrel!” hooted Rumbler. “Oi Miss Fallon won't like what you said Rumb. You know she hates being called that!” Harry the only stoat there frowned. It was also surprising to Felldoh when he noticed that the 'vermin' were more kinder than the normal woodlanders he was normally with. “Care to say that again Rumbler?” Fallon asked as she swaggered to the hedgehog. “You know I would win Miss” Rumbler looked drunk though his words were not slurred. “You're drunk!” growled Fallon before she swatted the hedgehog with her tail “Go t'sleep before ye hurt yerself ya buffon!” Fallon had a different kind of air around her when she was bossing around the other creatures. “Higgy! Take Rumb back to the tent, he'll be having a helluva headache in the morning come.” Sighed Fallon and the little mouse tugged the larger hedgehog away. “Fallon! Lets have a drinking contest!” a black ferret came with a barrel of what looked like wine. “I won the last forty times, what makes you think you can win this time around?” asked she with a wry smile upon her face. “I don't care!” the ferret grinned “I can't keep losing to you!” “ok! Felldoh want to join us?” asked Fallon with a grin. “” he hesitated joining in such a vermin-like behavior. “just say yes” Kieran grinned before pushing him towards Fallon and the ferret. “Felldoh this is Morgan, Morgan this is Felldoh” Fallon introduced. “nice to meet you Sir Felldoh!” the ferret said in a civilized manner and stuck out a paw. “um...same here Morgan....just call me Felldoh no sir.” he said shaking Morgan's paw. “sure, then I guess I can speak to you informally then” Morgan smiled and Felldoh nodded. “let the best beast win” Fallon brought out three mugs. Harry came over with some parchment and a charcoal pencil. Harry filled the mugs evenly to the brim and nodded to the three competitors. Felldoh could see that everyone was cheering for their leader Fallon, he didn't know if it was because she was a strong drinker or if it was because she was their leader.

After his fourth cup Felldoh started to get light headed. He was shocked that Fallon and Morgan were drinking like it was water. “How are they still drinking?” he asked Keiran. “Don't try to keep up wit' them. They are monsters...nay Morgan is more normal than Fallon, I've never seen her drunk no matter how much wine, ale anything she's drunk.” Keiran patted Felldoh's shoulder with a grin of pity. “Morgan just give up, you know I'm the best drinker next to paps” grinned Fallon as she filled her mug again. “I'cn keep goin' Harry what cup am I at?” Morgan asked with a slight slur in his words. “You're at 20, Miss Fallon is at 26.” there was a pause as Harry kicked the barrel of wine. “Keiran get another barrel...make that two” Harry sighed as he watched Morgan open the top of the barrel and saw that it was empty. “got ya chief” Kieran sighed before walking off. He came back a short while after carrying both the barrels each on his shoulders. Felldoh was shocked at the lean fox's strength and he thought himself was strong. “You know Morgan, drinking is bad for your body” warned Fallon to her friend. “You're drinking..more than me” Morgan hissed. “I know....I'm a horrible example aren't I?” laughed Fallon though there was a trace bit of sadness in her voice. “it's not as great as you think Morgan, being a strong drinker. I can't get drunk when I want to.” laughed Fallon again to hide her sadness. “I-I-I” before Morgan could even start he fell off his seat unconscious. “Such a fool” Fallon hefted the ferret over her shoulder when Harry came and took Morgan from her. “I can take him Miss Fallon” he said. “Thanks Harry, you always end up helping me” Fallon grinned ruefully. “it's ok, I owe your father enough” he patted Fallon's head with care before leaving to a tent somewhere in the distance. “owe?” Felldoh asked. “yeah, he isn't much older than I, maybe a season or two. Father saved him during a blizzard , he and his family and protected them. I was two seasons or so when his parents died and he came with our traveling group.” Fallon sighed “he thinks he owes us or something...father really thought of him as his own son” “but...” he pointed at Harry's retreating figure. “he won't listen” Fallon was about to sigh again but stopped and looked up at the sky as she started to count the endless number of stars. “ever wonder what happens to good beasts when they die?” she asked. “no I never really thought about that” Felldoh said looking up to the stars as well. “Father told me there is a star for each and every dead beast, good or bad” she laughed “he told me much things like old mousewives tales to keep me outta trouble” Sadness again seemed to creep into her voice. Slowly sleepiness overcame Felldoh from the active few hours as his eyelids closed like weights and soon was fast asleep. Fallon who watched the male squirrel fall asleep chuckled slightly. She lifted Felldoh and carried the squirrel into her tent; giving him the mattress as she decided on the next destination and a new course.

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