Chapter 1

The sea raged with fury unlike any force known. The rain hammered down massive drops into the sea. The waves battered and beat the crew of the Redwake mercelessly. The corsairs of the mighty ship were thrown around like ragdolls. The lightning lit up the ship showing many miserable faces. Captain Flango sat in his cabin holding onto a rope on the wall along with the the first mate Dinzo. "Wow, Cap'n, we've never had weather this bad--yowch!" the rat hit his head hard on the the ceiling as they hit a massive wave. Flango jingled as his many pieces of jewelery clattered together with each bump. His braids spun wildly on his chin. The intimidating weasel gave the rat a grim look. "Are ya goin' soft on me, matey? A little bad weather gotcha all in a tizzy? No Dinzo I've ever known was afraid of some rain." The rat knew it was never a wise idea to get on the bad side of the captain. "No, Cap'n, this is nothing compared to wot we've seen!" The weasel gave his first mate a powerful shove knocking him from his chair. A huge wave sent the rat hurtling up and onto the ceiling and he bounced around the cabin. He finally made it to his seat and held back onto the rope. He would say no more. Another rat named Mogga came into the cabin with news. "Cap'n, Ogra has spotted a ship!" Flango sprung from his seat knocking Dinzo and Mogga aside. He stormed out of the cabin and called up to a stoat in the crow's nest. "Ogra! Where is the ship?" "Dead ahead, Cap'n!" Flango headed to the bow of the ship and squinted. Sure enough there was a big ship floating in the ocean. "It looks like it's dropped anchor. Take us up next to it Geeter!" The rat steering the boat called out "Aye, Cap'n!" They made there way through the gale and eventually got right next to it. A couple of corsairs dropped the anchor over the edge. Flango launched a harpoon onto the other ship. "Ok, Mogga and Dinzo, come with me!" The three of them crawled across the rope. Flango made it across with ease, but the other two had much difficulty. When all three were across they examined the ship. All over the deck were bodies. Rats, weasels, ferrets, stoats, and even some foxes were strewn lifeless across the deck. "Whaddya think happened to them, Cap'n?" stuttered Dinzo. He had a feeling he was about to get hit but Flango's reaction was the same. "I'm not sure but this place gives me the creeps." He and Dinzo were examining the bodies when Mogga wandered off. He opened up the cabin and it was very dark inside. The only source of light was a very dimly lit candle. "That's strange. How could this candle still be lit--" He was cut off as he was knocked head over heals out of the cabin and back onto the deck, completely senceless. Dinzo rushed over to the rat's aid. "Matey, wot happened to ya? Flango do you know? Cap'n?" Flango was not paying attention. But he was looking at the most sinister rat he'd ever layed eyes on standing in the cabin doorway. The large and powerful looking rat's wet fur hung in front of his face. Blood red eyes peered out from beneath the fur. Jagged yellow teeth grew out of his mouth and still could be visible even with his mouth shut. His clothes were more just shreds clinging to his body. A long curved scimitar was gripped in his hand. His breath was heard very loudly. Blood dripped from numerous gashes and scratches all over his body. With each flash of lightning the rat seemed to be getting closer. There was a long moment of just silence aside from the rain beating down. Flango finally found his voice and spoke. "Who are you?" The rat just stared at him. "You do not need to be afraid of us. I'm Cap'n Flango and this is Dinzo and Mogga. Despite his appearance, the rat had a very smooth and calm voice, one that chilled the blood of the listeners. "With all due respect, Cap'n Flango, I believe you're the one who should be afraid." "Listen, I'm afraid of nobeast, so don't even--" "You're afraid of nobeast ya say, Cap'n?" "Er, yes, nobeast!" "Do you wanna know how my crew died...Cap'n Flango?" "I s'pose so." "I thought you would..." he said darkly. "Have you ever felt a blade drive itself into your flesh, Cap'n Flango?" "Er, no." "Well then, how many beasts do ya think you've slewn with that blade you're holding?" "Many." "Many he says! Well then, Cap'n Flango, that's the answer! I've slain many beasts in my day, including this entire crew!" The rat's pupils were narrowing and his eyes were bulging. The weasel captain was feeling uneasy, especially Dinzo and Mogga who were shaking with fear. "Ya want to know how it happened, Cap'n Flango? Well, I was sittin' in my cabin like usual hangin' out with my three best mates, Opper, Jipper, and Motzy. We were sitting there talkin' 'bout this an' that, when suddenly, I heard the most beautiful music. It was like a chorus of angels singing in my ears. I asked my mates wot they thought about it and they told me they heard nothing. I was angered by this for it was such beauty. Then my mate Opper says, 'Hey, Cap'n Deadskull, are you feeling alright in the head?' Wot a mistake that was for him! Nobody takes Cap'n Deadskull fer a loony! So, with the others watching I beheaded the fool in a single swipe. Jipper drew his blade but he was run through nicely before he could anything. Motzy made a run fer it but he didn't get far. This is him. Say hi Motzy!" He pointed at a long dead rat who was pinned to the door. "Harharhar! He's a lil shy sometimes. Pretty soon, these three deaths ended up being my entire crew. I have no regrets for it was not I, but the music that drove me to do it." After this there was moment of silence aside from the thunder and rain. Finally Flango found his voice. "So, was your crew just a bunch of pathetic wretches? Out of all of them I'd say at least one of them had to have been able to fataly wound you." "Does it really matter, Cap'n Flango? Their dead, I'm not. But, as you can tell, I've got a bit of a problem. It's hard to call yourself a cap'n when you've got no crew. So I'm offering you three the privilege to be the start to my new crew!" To say that Flango disagreed would be an understatement. "In case you havn't noticed, worm, I'm a captain of my own crew! Why would I give that up to serve under some maniac?" "Perhaps if your life was at stake it would be different, hm?" "You can't kill me! Your crew was clearly feeble at swordsmanship! Dinzo, Mogga, let's get out of here and leave mister insanity to himself." Then, all of sudden, the three of them dropped to the ground with great pain in the back of their heads. They were stunned and could hardly move but could talk fine. Flango looked up and saw the mad Deadskull standing above them. "Now, you really shouldn't have done that. Many of your crew members could have lived but you went this way." The rat had hit the three of them in the head with a big wooden club. "Now here's how this is going to work. Hey you over there!" He called out to Cap'n Flango's crew aboard the other ship, which all of them were listening. "We're going to have tryouts for my new crew. Whoever can make across this harpoon your cap'n has so kindly laid out before your ship sinks, you will be part of my crew." "Our ships not even sinking you fool!" called out a rat. "It's not, eh? Well then how do you explain this?" Deadskull swung the anchor over the side of the ship and crashed into the Redwake. Water rushed into the ship's gigantic hole. Flango's crew herded to the rope, pushing and shoving each other trying to get across. Creatures plummeted down into the raging sea below only to drown. Others were already dead when they fell, slain by their comrades. "Harharhar! C'mon now, I need some of you to be alive! Harharhar!" After a while, a rat finally made it to the ship. "And wot is your name, whelp?" "My name is Ogra, Cap'n!" "Glad to meet ya, welcome aboard the Wrathmast! All of ye others that actually make it here, tell me your name once your aboard." One by one the lucky corsairs got across muttering their names to their new captain. "Geeter." "Hangear." "Socket." "Flawd." Many more names were called out as corsairs boarded the Wrathmast. Flango's crew had always been a huge one. So despite the large number of drowned corsairs, Deadskull's new crew still made up about one hundred and fifty in all. "So...this is my new crew. Harhar, you fellers look like ye've all been stabbed in your honches. Cheer up! I guarantee you'll like me more. Cause if you don't..." Deadskull put his blade to his throat and slid it across. "Harharharhar! Now then, the first task is to get rid of all these bodies. I want Kotzor, Geeter, Zarul, Slobb, Tyrul, and Seaclaw to dispose of these carcasses. Ogra, your the best steerbeast so you take command of the wheel. We're headed south. The rest if of you can clean and repair my ship! I'll be in my cabin, only come in if it's important!" So the Wrathmast and its new crew set sail under the command of the mad Deadskull.

Chapter 2

Miles south of the Wrathmast was an island that was abnormally big. All around was nothing but sandy beach. This island was known as Sigora. On the north most part of Sigora was the fortress of Bankmarsh. High Cat Reegor was rushing through the halls of Bankmarsh and out into the courtyard. He arrived at a small house. He poked his head in the door. "Er, Lord Binx you wanted to see me?" In a large red and gold chair sat a big wildcat. He was wrapped in a black coat with a white colar. His voice was so smooth it creeped most creatures who'd never heard it before out. His pure white fangs glistened in the fire light that radiated from the meriod of candles around the room. Lord Binx was flanked by ten guards, five on each side of him. All of the guards were rats. The biggest and clearly the leader of the rats was on the right next to the royal cat on the left. "Come here my son." Reegor approached his father very cautiously. Normally when his father called for him it was not for something good. "Father, I can assure you, whatever you think I've done I did not do it! Please do not punish or hurt me. "Easy now, I'm not upset at all, I'm simply worried." "Worried?" "Yes, we've had many corsair attacks lately and I do not think it's a very good sign. Do you remember that rat that I banished a long time ago because of his treason against me. He was the previous High Guard." "Are you talking about Deadskull?" "Yes he's the one. As I recall that fool boarded a vicious crew of corsairs and sailed away. He's more than likely dead but you can't be to sure. He swore revenge against me and I'm in no mood for a war. But obviously, I'm more than prepared for one. I've summoned you here to just alert you of this and I want you to always keep a watchful eye on the horizon." "Yes father you can count on--" All of a sudden a rat guard burst into the room. "Lord Binx! Another ship has been spotted. It's headed straight for Bankmarsh." "Krang, you know wot to do." The High Guard that was standing next to Binx got into action. "Ok, Godra, Sliph, Sinktooth! Get the guards on top of the wall. Leer, get the archers on the beach. Tayger, get the swordbeasts to the beach as well. Have them lined up in front and the archers behind them."

Cap'n Oreclaw and his crew were sailing ever closer to Bankmarsh. "Hehehe, we'll finely have control of that fortress! I can hardly wait! C'mon Fligger! Take us in!" "Aye, Cap'n." The ship made its way to the shallows. The crew hopped over the side of the ship and splashed into the water. Wet beasts came ashore with blades in their mouths and snarling. Their appearance made no difference to the guards. They were well experienced in this type of thing. On Leer's comand the archers fired. After the wave of arrows had slain many of the corsairs the swordbeasts went in to finish the fight. The corsairs were decimated. The only corsair left standing was Oreclaw the captain. For some reason he had a wide grin on his face. "Well, it looks like you fellas know how to fight! Harhar! I would be obliged if ye'd let me live to fight another day among the ranks of ye fine gentlebeasts." "I'll wipe that smile off your face!" Krang pelted him in the face with the flat of his blade knocking him out cold. They dragged him away into the stone walls of Bankmarsh.

The rat captain awoke in a giant dirt pit surrouned by mice, otters, squirrels, shrews, hedgehogs, and many other creatures. They were chained to big blocks and were forced to walk around with them. "Argh! Where am I and wot is this thing strapped to my leg?" "Lord, the prisoner has awoken." Oreclaw looked up and saw Crang and Reegor looking down on him. Then the head of Lord Binx peered over the rim of the pit. "Ah, doesn't he look quite pitiful down there. One second your captain of a huge crew and now you've been reduced to something quite resembling a slave. He ain't gonna work, bring him up here." The guard known as Leer fired an arrow straight through the rat's bonds. He climbed up a rope ladder and was and was greeted with a powerful kick to the stomach by Krang. He was kicked mercilessly by the guards. "Argh lemme go!" "Hahaha! My guards won't stop unless I say otherwise. You think you can just sail in here and defeat Lord Binx just like that? Fool! Cease!" Without question, Krang and the others stopped beating the corsair. "It's my turn now!" Binx picked up the rat and slammed against the stone wall. Scratching and biting and punching the rat, Binx tore him up like a rag doll. "You've proven yourself to be the biggest fool to walk this land and sail the seas. Your corsair days are over!" Binx booted Oreclaw back into the pit. He smashed into the ground with a resounding thud. Binx's guards rolled the rope ladder that was in the pit up so nobeast could climb out. "You now belong to me, rat. You will spend the rest of your pathetic life in that pit, yielding to my every whim!" He stormed off back to his cabin.

Binx sat down in his big chair and put his head in his hands. "Garr! I grow tired of these feeble attempts at capturing Bankmarsh. It so pathetic. It's simply a waste of time!" "Well, wot do you suggest, Lord?" asked Krang. "I have no suggestion. That is why I've summoned you two, to help me figure out a plan." "Er, father, I have an idea, but I'm not so sure you'll agree with it." "What is it, Reegor?" "Well, there is that group of mercenaries that have always camped outside the south wall." "You mean that fox Byle and his group of nothings? Not a chance! Wot help could they possibly provide?" "Well, father, wot if we payed them to patrol the shores for us." "But wot if he double crosses us?" "How could he? We're paying him and he has no chance of defeating our guards so why not?" "Hm, well wot do you think Krang?" "Honestly, lord, I don't care one way or the other. It would of course, be of great use for me to not have to stand on top of that wall all day." Binx pondered for a few seconds. "I suppose it couldn't do much harm. You two, take wotever you need and fetch them. Make sure they come to me before they do anything."

The fox Byle stood before Lord Binx. The fox had a red bandanna wrapped around his head. Two big golden hoops were put through each ear. Then he had a black vest and ripped up pants. "Hehehe. I'm so glad that ye've chosen me 'n' my band for the job. I'd say it was a top notch choice. Now then, wot am I gettin' payed to do again?" "You are required to patrol the shore in front of Bankmarsh and watch for any corsairs. Once they get on shore you are to kill them. I will then pay you in all the food you can eat." "That sounds great to me. Gettin' food to kill some seascum! My band's gonna love this new job. Well, I'll see you later, we'll begin patrolin' now." Byle marched out of the cabin and out of the fortress and met back up with his band. "Hey Skully!" he yelled to a vixen. "Finally you're out of there! So, wot did they want?" "We've just been hired to guard the beaches from sea rats. We're getting paid in all the food we can eat!" All of the vermin in his band perked up and smiled viciously at the sound of slaughter for food. "We get to kill things and we're getting paid to do it. This couldn't get any better." "Wot a fool King Binx is. He doesn't realize exactly wot a mercenary is! Ha, he hired us. Mercenaries don't get hired, they get paid to do the dirty work for other weaklings. And once he feels completely safe from all these scary corsairs, that's when we make our move." "And wot move is that, Byle?" Byle responded with loud smack in her face. "Oh Skully, you never were the brightest of them all. Our move is we get in there and do exactly wot we're getting paid to do." "But there isn't any corsairs in there, Byle." This time Byle hit her so hard she went sprawling into a pair of ferrets. "My god your stupid! We're going to kill them all! Binx, Reegor, that rat who thinks he's so tough! All of 'em! Dead!" Skully was rubbing her head. "Oh, I see where you're going with that, Chief, but, er, how exactly are we going to do that?" Byle rolled his eyes and sighed. "Listen, Skully, I want you to know something. Your a great member to my band and a fearsome fighter. But you certainly may be the biggest idiot to ever have walked on soil. Do you honestly think I've cooked up a plot in the five minutes that we've been assigned to this job? But don't you fret, I'll have a great plan in no time! And speaking about our new job, looks like our first customer is sailing thisaways!"

Captain Slaywol of the Bottomfeeder was on course straight for Bankmarsh. He stood on the bow of the ship staring intently at the castle. The rat's braids and jewelery fluttered in the wind and his wide hat sat on his head looking like it was about to blow away. He called up to the fox maning the crow's nest. "You sea anything ashore, Houndar?" "Yes, Cap'n! There's a whole group of rag-tag vermin waiting for us. Their leader looks like a fox." "Well, if their looking for a fight, they sure better not be looking at us. I'm in no mood right now for this nonsence!"

The ship crashed onto the sandy beach and all of the corsairs climbed out of it. They approached the mercenaries with Slaywol at the front. "Listen, fox, I can clearly see that you intend to kill us, but I have absolutely no time for this." "Well it looks like you'll have to make time, rat!" Byle spat out. "You either fight us or just sail away on your pretty ship." "I'm not taking orders from anybeast!" He turned around and whispered something to Houndar. "Ok, listen mate. It's clear to me these are no trained fighters. So, since your my most useful of the crew, you and I are going to go in the castle alone, while the rest of the crew fights these wretches. Now then, crew, wot are you waiting for? Kill them all!" "Turn this beach to beautiful red, mercenaries!" The two forces clashed and creatures were slain fast. As the pandemonium took place, Slaywol and Houndar snuck into the castle. Slaywol had been at Bankmarsh before, so he knew where he was going. He busted into the cabin and startled Binx. "Oh wot now?" "Give me my brother you fiend!" "Nobeast addresses Lord Binx that way. Prepare to die, rat!" "Easy now Krang, it's ok. How can I help you, er, wot's your name?" "Cap'n Slaywol and I want my brother! I know he's here." "I believe you are mistaken--" "Not a chance! Oreclaw set out a few nights ago to come here and he should've been back by now." "Oh are you talking about that bad mannered rat who thought he could defeat my forces. His crew is dead, but he's in the slave pits. Would you like to see him?" "Take me there!" "Of course..." he said with a devious grin.

Slaywol arrived at the edge of the pit with Lord Binx and Krang. "That's him right there." "Ah yes, him..." A wink passed between Binx and Krang. "Why don't you two...catch up on things." Silently, behind Slaywol's back, Krang had wrapped his arm around Houndar's face, blocking his mouth, and put a knife into his back. He quickly gave the body to a nearby guard and told him to dispose of it. "Oreclaw! It's me, Slaywol!" The rat looked up and was relieved at the sight of his brother. "Oh, finally you're here! Get me out of here!" "I'll have you out of there in no time! You, Binx, get him out of there now!" The wildcat turned around. "Sure, let me just--" He suddenly spun back around and kicked Slaywol in the chest. He slipped off of the edge and plummeted down to his death. He landed with a loud thud next to Oreclaw. He stared in horror at the sight of his dead brother. "Y-you killed my brother!" "Aw, did I? I'm sorry. I'll have the two of you reunited in no time! But that will have to wait. I've got more important things to attend to."

Lord Binx appeared on the top of the castle looking down to where the beach was. Byle and his band of mercenaries had slaughtered the crew without any casualties. They were more experienced than they looked. "Excellent work, Byle. You will not regret taking this opportunity." "Yea, yea, wotever. Where's our food?" "There will be plenty to go around. Just you wait and see."

Chapter 3

Feldin Sharpfur was a young squirrel who was an expert swordbeast. He never faught in spite however, just in defence. He lived in a small village on the shore of the ocean. He lived with his father, Feldon, and his mother, Meedrey, in a hut made of straw and pine. His father was the protector of his village and always had been. Feldin never argued with what his parents told him to do. He was always more than happy to help his friends around the village. After many seasons, when his passing came, the duty would be passed on to Feldin. Feldin was loading bales of straw into the back of one of the village's farmer's wagon. The old mouse smiled a toothless smile. "Thank you so much, Feldin. These old bones just can't do wot they used to." "Ha, don't worry about, Dobey. If ya need any more help just gimme a holler." "I'll be sure I do. Say, wot is that father of yours up to?" Feldin looked where the mouse of pointing and saw Feldon climbing up the side of the giant rock hill that had a spiral staircase going around the whole thing all the way to the top. "I'm not sure wot he's up to. I'll go find out. Hey, father!" His father did not here him so he chased off after him. "Be careful, Feldin!" He raced passed his mother as she called out to him, "Feldin where are you going?" "No where, mother!" She stomped her foot. "Oh that crazy son of mine. So much like his father. Hehehehe..." She walked off chuckling to herself. Feldin was pounding up the stone staircase when he finally reached the top. He saw his father staring off out to see. He cautiously approached him. "There you are, father, I've been--" Feldon cut him off. "Quiet, son." "But father--" "Quiet, son!" Feldin immediately became silent. Feldon turned and faced him with concern in his eyes. He looked Feldin up and down. "My, you sure have grown. I'm glad I've seen you to grow as strong as you've become." "What are you talking about father? You talk like you won't see me grow any more." There was a long silence and Feldin could tell his father was nervous to say his next sentence. "Feldin...I won't." It hit Feldin like a brick. "Wot on earth are you talking about? You're not going to die today." "Son, I want you to know this. It has been a pleasure to have somebeast as strong and brave as you for a son. Look out to see and you'll see wot I am talking about." Feldin looked out on the horizon and saw a ship of a speedily approaching the shore.. "It's just a ship, father. How do you know it's coming this way." "It's on a dead course straight for us. Me and wot other fighters I have will not be able to fight off an entire corsair crew. Son, Feldin, today I give you my sword. Those corsairs are going to come into this village. Me and the others will fight, and we will lose. Me, your mother, and everybeast will not be able to fend them off. We will die, son. But not you, I won't let you! You're too strong and young to die now." Feldin couldn't believe what he was hearing. Tears dripped down his face and splashed on the stone. His father embraced him. "Do not cry Feldin. I always knew that this would happen. Now, hurry, get back to our home and retrieve my sword. Then I want you to run. Run as far away from here as you can." "Father, I want to fight with you." "I will not here of it! I cannot and will not let you die. Now go!" With blinding tears, Feldin turned around to leave. "Wait son, I want you to remember this. A sword can be two different things. Good or evil. The blade I have passed down to you can be evil if ever put into the wrong hands. Only use that weapon to protect yourself and others, never in spite." Feldin nodded one last good-bye and marched down the stairs strongly. Feldon looked at the ship which had just hit the shore. "It is time to settle this, Deadskull."

Deadskull and his crew marched across the beach on their way to the village. All of the corsairs loved their new captain. They thought he was the best one yet because he treated them decently. The only ones that did not like him were Flango and his still faithful Dinzo and Mogga, whom were the butt of all of Deadskull's jokes. "Aye, Flango, you look so pathetic at the very back of the group. Not so high and might now are ye?" Flango said something under his breath. "Would ye like to repeat that?" "No!" "No what?" "No, Cap'n!" he shouted furiously. "That's wot I thought ye said! Now then, none of you slay anybeast unless I tell ye to."

The crew approached the small village ominously. Feldon was at the head of a small pack of warriors from the village. "Hello, squirrel! I'm so glad that we've been reunited. Last time I saw you I was weaker. But now it's time for me to kill you." "Deadskull, I let you live because you promised me you'd change. Wot a mistake I've made." "Didn't your mommy and daddy ever tell ye to never trust a searat? Apparently not. I guess I'm going to have to give you the lesson. My crew, kill them all, but leave this little barnacle to me." His crew immediately rushed forward and over powered the little band of warriors. They were killed fast. Only one corsair was killed in the plight. The rat Flawd died while standing up because he was transfixed by the sword Feldon had thrust through him. Feldon kicked the body off the sword and pointed at Deadskull. "Make your move, rat!" Deadskull raised his curved scimitar above his head and swooped down with ferocious speed. The blades hit and sparks showered over the combatants. Deadskull broke through Feldon's blade instantly, but he couldn't follow all the way through for the kill. He backed up and raised his sword again for another swoop. Had Feldon had his regular sword, the outcome of the battle would be much different. Feldon summersaulted out of the way and Deadskull's sword went into the soft soil all the way down to the hilt. Deadskull tried to tug the blade out of the ground but he couldn't before Feldon had punched him in his gut. The punch, in reality, had not affected Deadskull too much, but he pretended it did by bending over and crying out in pain. Feldon, thinking he had the upper hand, approached him slowly. Then when he had gotten close enough, Deadskull thrust back up and caught Feldon in his chin. Doing a backflip, he landed face down in the ground. He looked up and saw Deadskull standing over him. He had tugged his sword free and had it pressed against Feldon's neck. Feldon knew it was over. "Well, there isn't much you can do now, squirrel. So prepare to die." Feldon closed his eyes. From the window of his home, Feldin watched through teary eyes at the scene of his father's last stand. He saw Deadskull raise his sword. Then, when he brought it down, Feldin closed his eyes. He heard the thud of the sword hitting the ground. And the sinister laugh of the captain and his crew. Clutching his father's real sword, Feldin sprinted off into the woods. "Hey look! Another squirrel is running away!" cried the rat Kotzor. Deadskull looked furious. "That one must be this fool's son. Don't stand there counting your fangs! After him!" The crew took off after Feldin with Deadskull running at the rear. "He can't get too far!"

Chapter 4

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