Silver moonlight shone through the thick forest. Matthew looked up and glared venomously at the pine tree he was under. Growling something inaudible, he turned around, hearing a fight.
Two of his least favorite stoats, who happened to be on duty, were arguing about something. Just happening that it was by him, the larger one, Slimenose, stabbed Twopaw, the smaller, (and uglier) one in the stomach. Gasping, Twopaw, his paw with his dagger pointed toward Matthew, fell over and died.
Slimenose looked shocked for a moment, then threw the body in the river that was by their camp. The current quickly carried him away downstream. Slimenose ran toward the second-in-command, a female rat self-named Adder.
"ADDER!" He shouted. "Twopaw deserted!"
That was enough to awaken her. "WHAT!" She screamed, drawing out the stiletto from her belt. "He deserted?"
The stoat nodded, and continued, "He left his dagger, so I threw it at him, and he fell into the river." He waited for Adder's response.
"Good." She said, "I always thought he looked like Medusa, and he always talked about deserting."
"Really?" Slimenose gasped, "Also, before he deserted, I saw him stab the slave closest to him."
"Let me check," Adder said, "Where is he?"
"Under the pine tree," he supplied.
Adder rushed over to Matthew, who, when Twopaw fell, was stabbed on the leg. Adder looked at him and said, "He'll live, but it's good that we are stopping for a while. Otherwise, he would get worse."
"Under the pine tree," Slimenose supplied
"IDIOT!" Adder yelled. "I KNOW WHERE HE IS!"
The stoat watched her as she walked toward the vermin leader's tent. A faint, insane growl could be heard. "That," muttered Slimenose, "Is why everyone goes to Adder for help. 'Cause Zalab Balaz is a little off his rocker." He thought about the rumored insane fox as the night turned to dawn.
Matthew first noticed the pain in his leg. Then the mouse realized that he and the five other slaves weren't being forced to move top-pace. That means they would have a day off. But then a harsh shout came from the top of a nearby hill. "In line!" Even after a month of hearing the voice of Zalab Balaz, it sent chills down his spine. It sounded like nails on a chalkboard.
Mariam the squirrel, after being in the slave line since she was captured playing by Redwall, which was three months ago, had a good idea of what the slavers' ideas were: to take them to Vaya, Lady of the Underworld, and sell them. "At least," she muttered, "Vaya probably has a brain."

Vaya, Lady of the Underworld, watched the quick-talking messenger from her throne, wondering how long she would play this game, this deadly game, for if she lost, she would lose everything she had worked for a year planning in advance, painstaking drawing the smallest details out on birch bark strips. She dared tell no one, for anybody was liable to betray the secret to the slavers. It hurt her deeply, but she still said nothing.
No creature had ever seen her without her traditional purple satin dress, which reached the ground, and a hooded cape pulled up to shield her eyes, and a veil to cover the rest of her face. Because if they did, they'd see silky midnight black fur everywhere except her ears, tail, and front and back paws. Her eyes were an unsettling mix between deep purple and bloodred. But, the most surprising part were the places that didn't have black fur- the fur there was blue!
Vaya was a crossbreed of sorts, a mix between a ferret and a squirrel. All she knew about her past was that her mother had thought she was so ugly that she abandoned her. Then a mouse farmer had taken her in, and for almost all of her life, until she was sixteen seasons old, he had taken care of her despite her appearance.
Then one day when she was shucking corn by the barn, she suddenly dropped it and ran toward the house. Two stoats with daggers ran out, not seeing her, but she saw them, their sight burning in her memory. They had burst in and killed the mouse.
After giving him a decent funeral, she tracked down the two stoats over the course of two seasons. When she got to their campsite she was shorter than them, was wearing the very same outfit as she was in the present, and had a stiletto up her sleeve, and a rapier inside a hollow walking stick.
To understand this, she looked more like a stoat than a squirrel or weasel, because the ferret, her father, had been the son of a stoat and a ferret. The stoats were young and foolish.
When she walked into their camp in broad daylight, their heads turned toward her. All they saw was a female stoat... until she told them they had murdered the only person who loved her.
"Why?" they asked. "'Cause your such a bad girl?" Their reply was shocking, because she pulled down the hood, pushed up her sleeves, ripped the veil off, and took off her sandals.
"You're... BLUE!" they cried, and died of shock.
Shock is what Vaya called stabbing someone in the throat.
Vaya finally listened to the messenger finishing his speech. "An', milady, Zalab Balaz wants twenty gold coins." Vaya raised her eyes. "Twenty golden coins? How many are there?"
"Uh... six, a badger, an otter, a mouse, a squirrel, a mole, an' a hedgepig. Three girls an' three boys, Ma'am. Could you give me your answer so I can return it to him?"
Thank God I raised up a total of over 10,000 coins, she thought, because the trick is working! "Yes, I'll gladly buy them from him, and please tell him I'll keep buying. Just so you get this message right, and to add to his army, I will sent a score of my best ferrets to keep you company and work for him." The messenger, a rat called Westpaw, nodded and turned to step out, when Vaya called, "Westpaw? Can you spend this night here with us so you don't have to travel in darkness?"
"Uh, my master said not to," he turned around and saw Vaya behead a crude stick pole in the shape of a creature. "Um, I'd be happy to." The rat said.
His reward was Vaya leading him to a single-bed, smallish room, on just one of the many high towers that were in The Castle of the Underworld. It's bed was the best thing Westpaw had seen in his life. Being a poor rat, he was not used to a mattress stuffed with goose-feathers and a pillow of the same materiel.
"Come down when the gong rings twice for dinner," she said as she left.

Vaya went down the tower to the bottom floor, and talked to the cook, a female wildcat. "Put one drop of the punch in his food," she told her, "You know why."
She went across The Castle of the Underworld to the library, which shocked her. Vaya had never been the reading type, but she picked out an ancient scroll, and read it.
Written by Sawacast the Squirrel.
The time has come to journey on to rid the land of vermin. I will leave to go to The Uncharted Land, and never return.
I'm behind the trees in a clearing, disguised as a ferret, and see a creature, a male, of the same species as my disguise and go down to meet him.
He falls for it until-
I tried telling him the truth before-
The creatures at Redwall will never forgive me for this!
NO! HE'S COMING! He says for me and my baby- I named her Vaya after the old word for Misunderstood, to come with him- or else.
Then the flowing script was replaced by barely readable letters, grouped together and rather large.
I was walking down the path, two days after I found this journal, when I heard sounds of cheering. It was a fair, and the announcer was a ferret, evil right to his ears. He rings a bell, and a squirrel, carrying her baby, prodded at spear-point, come onto the stage. She holds up the babe, tears in her eyes, and everyone, all vermin, can see the odd-colored fur. 'Its half ferret and half squirrel!' The ferret said. I can't take this any longer. Thank God I took that broadsword from the mantelpiece with me. Being only a dormouse, I sneaked up on him and tapped him on the shoulder with the sword. He turns around, and snarls, 'What do you want?' I can tell the fear in his voice. 'Give me the squirrel and babe,' I said, 'and you won't get decapitated.' 'Give up me daughter?' he whispers. 'This... ferret, he is doing this to his daughter!' I cry. Then the crowd, rallied up by the truth, charges up and attacks all the staff. While they do this, I grab the squirrel's paw, and the three of us dash off.
Later we reach my farm. There I finally talk to the squirrel for a couple of minutes. 'My name's Sawacast, and this is Vaya,' she said, then passed out. When I finally gain the nerve to gingerly pull up the back of her shirt, I could tell immediately that she had been whipped mercilessly. After that, a season later, Sawacast said to me, 'Retapa, I have to go so I am leaving Vaya with you.' The reason is she would rid the land of any minor vermin groups. Despite my protests, she left in the morning, leaving me to be a father to Vaya. I never heard from her again.
There it ended. Vaya looked up in shock. His name was Retapa? "My mom didn't abandon me!" She realized.
BONG! BONG! The gong struck twice, signaling that in was dinnertime.
Vaya rubbed the tears from her eyes with a paw and trudged toward the kitchen.


Skipper Teyu ran toward the Abbey Pond as he was pursued by the angry Friar Saxio. "GET BACK HERE THIS INSTANT!" The fat mouse said.
The otter paused to look behind him. Too late! Saxio pushed him in the pond, laughing. "If ya wanta survive in the wild, ya must learn to run," the Friar gasped.
Skipper surfaced, then went under.
The water was cool and refreshing to the hot otter. His eyes took in the small group of minnows that they took from the river every year, and relaxed on the bottom of the lake. Unlike most otters, Teyu could hold his breath for about an 15 minutes, due to his heritage because both of his parents were Longbreathers.
Teyu felt himself dosing off, and, forgetting to not breath, sucked in with his nose. Nothing happened. Puzzled, he opened his mouth. Then water poured in. He clamped his mouth shut, swallowing a mouthful of water. Since he could breath underwater now, Teyu swam to the deepest part of the pond. There he found a deep, dark cave. Skipper went in. There he realized it was not full of water. Then a scream pierced the silence. Teyu ran towards the sound. A pine marten was trying to drown a female squirrel that was not of the abbey. Skipper ran headlong into him and tackled the vermin, releasing his hold on the squirrel. Throwing the beast into the wall, he heard a snapping sound as his neck was broken. Teyu ran towards the bucket of water where the squirrel's head was pushed into. Yanking her out, he sighed with relief as she coughed up water.
"Could you just hold your breath for one more minute?" He asked. She nodded weakly. Holding her so her head was against his chest, he dove up, until he reached the surface.
Friar Saxio fell into the water as Teyu surfaced. "WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN!" He cried. "It's been half an hour!"
Teyu explained everything, and, having a very loud voice, Saxio bellowed, "SISTER VIOLET!"
The hedgehog scurried over. "Everything alright, Sax- WHOA! Who's that?"
Teyu rapidly explained, ending with, "Bring her to the infirmary- now."
Violet picked up the squirrel in her sturdy paws and raced to the infirmary.

Westpaw was squished at the edge of the winding staircase as all of the soldiers pushed their way to the kitchen. He was surprised when Vaya came out from the door and yelled, "EVERYONE BUT WESTPAW EAT IN YOUR BARRACKS. FOOD WILL BE BROUGHT UP TO YOU!"
The rat hadn't seen such food in his life. Steamed salmon covered in herbs, shrimp and a sauce made out of hotroot, cheeses of all types, and, best of all, was a sweet fruit, called Retapo, that you could dip in either honey, melted cocoa, or even the hotroot sauce for a little flavor.
The rat tried to be polite, but after living on hardtack for three days straight, he crammed his face. Vaya didn't seem to notice, but she glanced at the cook from time to time. That was when Westpaw was beginning to feel drowsy.
The cook had put in an a herb for a punch- Rewa. It would make the eaters drowsy, and talk needlessly. Best of all, they did not remember a thing!
Westpaw talked about how

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