We were a great race of foxes, with the fur of ash and the eyes of flame. We plundered the lands and crushed all opposition under iron claws-black as night. With an armada fit to rule the world, we conquered the islands surrounding ours, taking flame to the inhabitants' delicate lives.
But one reynard in our forces brought our downfall. One who had the same fur of ash and the same eyes of fire. We scorned him, but he proved to be stronger than us all. This fearsome warrior, now a faded memory of bygone ages, was Seville the Blind.
A storm raged over the Isle of Girmm, slashing with violent winds at the great trees. The waves roared and swelled, dropping down upon the shores with mountains of foam and spray. A small group of mice were taking refuge in a cliff cavern, huddling close to keep warm. On each of their backs was a woven basket, filled with seaweed and other ocean produce.
"Oh! If only we had stayed and waited for the storm to pass! I hope the elders and young 'uns are all right." cried a mouse.
"Hush, they are fine. The huts will hold against this wind." comforted her husband. "We will do well to look after ourselves for the moment."
They huddled closer, waiting for the storm to pass.
Out in the ocean, not far from the cavern, was a ship. It's decks and hull were a dark wood, perfect for night sailing and camouflage. The sails were stretched taut on the wind, the rigging whistled with the gales and spray. Captain Bluddgut strode the decks, swishing his plumed tail in confidence, laughing in the face of the storm. He was a powerful fox in his midseasons, with gray fur clinging to his muscular frame in the rain. He wore a tattered frock coat, a white sash about his midriff, and a tricorn hat of black. He turned his amber eyes upon his motley crew, soaked with brine and rowing at the benches of the ship.
"Get 'er going, lads! Tis a night to raid!"
"More like a night to drown. Look at this rain!" muttered a rat.
"Ohoho!" grinned Bluddgut. He walked down the deck and faced a mean bilge rat with tattoos running down his arms. "So ye think its too harsh for ye? I'll show ye harsh!" He grabbed a whip from his sash and flayed the rat twice. He cringed against its painful bite. "Anybeast else shyin' away from a bit o' rain?" growled the Captain.
No one dared to say anything. They worked against the oars, powering the ship onward into the night.
The Island Kingdom of Kilnn had grown and prospered for many years. Founded by a great fox, the small motherland swallowed up the surrounding islands in its lust for power. Now, the true heritage of the kingdom has been lost in the dust of time, and a new leader has claimed the throne. He is King Dreadgarr, powerful reynard tyrant and a formidable combatant. His enemies are few, his forces, plentiful. Every morn, he walks the battlements of Kilnn's palace and watches the sun rise over the other nearby islands. He wears gold on his paws and ears, and favors a crimson cloak with feather trim. A black kilt finishes the picture of power and intimidation.
Dreadgarr was currently in close conversation with his admiral, Captain Bluddgut. The two foxes drank rich wine from stone beakers, watching the tides from the King's throne room window.
"My lord, I have brought new riches to Kilnn from a neighboring island. We plundered a small party of mice and found the rest in their village hovels. We killed the lot and took what was valuable. I hope it pleases you m'lord." Bluddgut motioned two rats forward. They carried a large wooden tray forth that was piled with the plundered goods. "We also found two barrels of fish and one barrel of hotroot pepper. Perhaps there are otters nearby?"
Dreadgarr's pale eyes roved over the collection. "Tch. Not but a mess of baubles. There is little that is of value here. Take the pearls and those two bracelets. The coral too. Throw the rest of the lot away. Captain, I'm rather disappointed in this raid." He emptied his beaker and set it on the window sill. He turned to his admiral with a look of mock sympathy. "I do hope that this next collection will be more promising."
His words were like oil on ice. This was when Dreadgarr was most dangerous- when he resorted to his silky calm tone. All under his command knew full-well the danger lying under his thin words. Bluddgut gulped, cringing in subservience. "Yes m'Lord. T'will be better I swears on me mother's pore 'eart!"
Dreadgarr laughed a deep, loud laugh, patting the captain hard on the back. "Bluddgut, me mate, you'd stab yer mum in the heart if she didn't do the same to you first!"
Many islands away, beyond the reach of Dreadgarr's kingdom, was a large isle named Breddakh. It was mostly inhabited with otters and hedgehog tribes, but a small village of wildcats dwelled on the northern peninsula. They kept to themselves, outnumbered as they were. But they were harmless enough to trade with the other tribes. The leader of the wildcats was a female named Hethra. She was a glossy gold, with a stunted tail and black-tipped ears. She was small in stature, but a fierce fighter, as well as the mother of three. She was rumored to have descended from Gingivere Greeneyes, which could explain her good temperment toward the otters and hedgehogs. Her second in command was a tabby named Vauga Shen, and he had a fox for a son.
It was a strange day when the fox had washed ashore. An otter maiden had secretly picked him up and given him to the cats, hoping they would be better-suited to take care of them. Shen had been younger then, but had taken in the fox without a second thought. Eventually, Hethra grew to like the newcomer, and allowed Vauga to keep him. Many wildcats were mistrusting, but Hethra's word was law.
The fox was named Seville. He was blind, rendering him relatively harmless. He was loved by the village when he began to display feline mannerisms, and the rest of the clan grew to welcome him. He soon grew into a strong, wiry reynard with long grey fur. He wasn't the strongest, nor the fastest, but his wit was sharp and his tongue laced in silver. He was often seen helping Hethra and Shen with trade and internal village problems. He could sniff out a bird's nest and hear the creak of a ship's rudder. Most of the young kits would entertain themselves for hours, testing Seville's abilities. They would drop acorns and ask how many he had heard fall. They would have him identify them by their faces and so forth. Seville happily obliged, content to amuse the kits and play games with them.
Seville, though blind, knew the village like the back of his paw. He could walk through the narrow spaces between huts and dens without falter, and Vauga Shen took note of this. Even in strange places, Seville could pick out a way for himself, though nobeast knew how. He was slow and steady and seemed to flow with the earth. Soon, Shen decided to teach Seville how to fight. It was not mandatory for the kits to learn, for there was peace on the fertile isle between the otters and cats, but Shen was a warrior. And Seville the 'son' of a warrior.
They started simply, with Seville learning to fight with his paws. They worked with tree trunks as targets, then moving to a moving beast. Shen taught Seville well, helping him to turn his keen ears on who he was fighting and figuring out how to navigate his way to turn the tide. Then he was given a knife. Then a short sword. Seville did best in defense, given a round shield with sharp edges, he could use it as a weapon when needed. Vauga Shen and Hethra looked upon this charge approvingly.
"He i the son of some warrior." Hethra muttered, watching Seville practice defense with a young cat.
"Indeed. And such a feat, to be blind, but to see." Shen answered. His arms crossed. "One day he might figure he's different. Maybe he'll search for his clan."
Hethra tilted her head, noting the slight disapproving tone. "If he must, then we shall let him, Vauga. It is the way of a warrior to wander. You yourself wandered until you found what you were looking for."
"It was here the whole time." Vauga Shen sighed. "He's like a son to me."
Sunlight dappled the leaves in the orchard of Redwall Abbey. The weather had been good to the forest, and a summer day was growing warmer. Skipper of otters sat on the sandstone battlements, warming his fur and reading a letter from his cousin out at sea among the many Southern Isles. A small friendly bird had sent him the letter, and he was digging into a warm breakfast made by the best cooks in Mossflower. He ruffled his feathers delightedly in the growing warmth of the day, saying "Och, what be the letter sayin' Skippo?"