The rising sun over the ocean reflected its light onto the mountain fortress of Salamandastron. The lord of the great mountain was none other than the famous fighting badger Bluestripe the Wild. He was bigger than any badger lord preceding him. His coat rather than being black with white stripes was more blue than black. His eyes were roaming the sea for signs of corsairs.
"Well well m’lord," said a voice from behind him, "up already are we?" Bluestripe turned and saw, with no great surprise, his good friend Colonel Sham De Fflorian Braybuck, standing at the door.
"Ahh, Sham my dear friend please come in and sit, have you brought breakfast?" the mountain lord asked.
"No m’lord," said the hare as he sat down in a small chair, "we seem to be having some difficulties in the kitchens."
"Difficulties?" Bluestripe said, "What kind of difficulties?"
"Oh nothing of importance m’lord its just that that bally maid in charge of lighting the fires has disappeared again, and we can’t cook without fire in the ovens."
"WHAT!!!" Bluestripe yelled angrily, "Where is she now."
"I don’t know m’lord," the colonel answered, quailing slightly at the look in the badgers eyes, "she’s probably off painting another bally landscape portrait."
"Stay here colonel I’ll be back."
"Sah don’t be to hard on her... she’s only a maid after all," but the badger was already out the door.
Kailee Windscutt was a tall lanky hare of near thirteen seasons. She was quite skinny and this morning she was painting a portrait to hang in her badger lords’ room. The painting was of the sun, halfway risen on the ocean.
"Well, well Kailee old gel, you seem to have outdone yourself this time!" she said to herself as she finished the painting.
Before she could praise herself anymore a large paw had descended and grabbed her by the ears.
"OWOWOWOWOW!!! Steady on there sir what’ve I don’t to make you rip off me bally bonce!!!"
"A hare of Salamandastron needs to learn to obey the orders she is given Windscutt!," the badger lord said loudly, "You only have one job in the morning and that is to light the fire in the ovens , but do you do it? NO!! You come out here and paint a picture!"
He set her down hard on a sand dune. She was crying a little and rubbing her head a lot. The badger looked down upon her and softened a bit.
"Oh Kailee," he said , "what am I going to do with you. Your father is a valued Sergeant in the Long Patrol, and all you want to do is paint and cook."
"I’m sorry sir," she sniffed, "It won’t happen again."
"No it won’t, because you won’t be here for it to happen again."
"Sir?," Kailee asked, sightly confused.
"I’m sending you to Redwall Abbey. There you can be a resident hare and cook and paint as much as you like."
Kailee rubbed the tears out of her eyes, "But sir, what about all of my friends here? And plus you’ll be short a corporal."
The big badger smiled, "Kailee you’ll be able to return to see your friends and plus I’m sending another hare with you!"
"Really sir, who?"
"Old Colonel Sham, his patrolling days are almost over. He’s getting to old to fight anymore. Plus your father wouldn’t let me send you anywhere without a supervisor."
"Sir, I don’t think the Colonel’s gonna like this when you tell him," Kailee grinned.
"Your right he probably won’t but these things happen, so you should start packing,"
The young hare jumped up swiftly, "Right away sir!" and she bounded off.
Bluestripe went over to the painting and took it off the easel.
"Young hares," he said, "always forgetting things. As he picked it up he noticed some writing on the back. He read it and smiled:
To Lord Bluestripe for your love of the sea
"Humph!," said Colonel Sham as the mountain disappeared behind him, "To old to be patrolling, blinking badgers, remember this Kailee you never can trust them!"Kailee smiled and ignored her indignant companion. it was the start of a new life for her, but she didn’t know how perilous it was to become.