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"The Last Stand"

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Prologue

Gladir Raz the black rat walked into his tent. He was the chieftain of the Juskaraz, a vermin Horde of about 20 score vermin. And now, he had a meeting with Valen the ancient vixen seer and healer. She had been in the horde since Zord Cram, father of Grag Cram, their last leader, had ruled the horde.

He had a plan. It was dangerous. It was risky. But he would do it anyway. As he sat down in the tent, Valen just stared at him. "Well, what are you waiting for!? Let's begin!" the rat chieftain said in his usual gruff voice. The vixen hesitated, then took a breath, and softly said, "Before we begin, there must be a chant, as well as a sacrifice of fur." The black rat took out a double-edged dagger from his belt. "Well, say the chant, and I'll cut my fur!" He barked. Without hesitation, the vixen began,

"Oh, warlords, chieftains, killers, assassins,

We call upon your name,

We call to you beyond HellGates,

To relive your former fame.

For a chance to destroy that sacred Abbey,

From which your blood was spilt,

We ask you to take up your blade by it's hilt.

We offer you a chance to watch the Abbey burn,

We humbly ask you to return."

As she finished, Gladir took his knife and cut some Fur from his paw. He dropped it into the empty cauldron. "Wait a minute, where's the water? All Cauldrons are serposed to have water in 'em!" the chieftain said. "Ah, yes." Valen said, "the water In here is boiled as hot as possible. If not, the ritual will not work." the fox seer took a kettle And poured it's boiling contents into the cauldron. Gladir watched as his black fur floated in the steaming Water. Valen continued, "There must be a blood sacrifice." Gladir held his paw over the cauldron, and cut himself. Two drops of blood fell into the water, turning it a dark red. Valen took out a mysterious dark vase, put her paw into it, and threw a pawful of what looked like dust into the cauldron. A cloud of purple smoke appeared above the water for a few moments. "What was that?!" Gladir asked. The vixen softly said, "Ash." She then took a bone from a bird's wing and cast it into the boiling red water. Valen then spoke, saying, "We now require a blackbird's feather." The rat chieftain, confused, said,"Well, throw one in!" The vixen shook her head, saying, "Ah, but you have one next to you." He turned, and, to his surprise, there was one. He picked it up, and was about to cast it in the cauldron when Valen stopped him. "Are you sure you want to do this? This is the final ingredient, and if you do this, you will bring back some of the most evil beasts ever to walk the earth from the dead. They are dead for a reason, my Lord." "Don't tell me how to live my life, old fool." the black rat sneered, and he cast the feather into the boiling red water. Suddenly, the water started to glow, then it appeared to be lit on fire. Gladir could have sworn that he saw souls in the fire, dancing, then turning to smoke, and the water got hotter and hotter and hotter until there was a huge blast of light.

Book One: The Horde

Chapter One

Abbess Minutus was sitting on a bench with her friend Charvan Spearback the cellarhog, looking up at the clouds.The female harvest mouse was not in her late seasons, as most abbots and abbesses were, but was rather young, only being 28 seasons. Charvan broke the silence by saying, "my brother Troggan is leaving today." Troggan Spearback was the chief of a hedgehog tribe, and visited once every two seasons. "You're not going with him?" she replied. "I thought you said you wanted to visit his family." " Aye, yes I do. But I got things to do here. Young Gunthro, my nephew, needs to be supervised. I mean, I can't leave him in charge of the cellars while I go off visitin' his brothers and sisters." He said briskly. There were a few good moments of silence until Charvan broke it once again. "Well, I'm goin' back in." He said as he heaved himself up from the bench. "I don't know about you, Mother Abbess, but I'm not going to sit here waitin' until I get old." Minutus got up after him and the two walked back inside. "Charvan, please just call me Minutus. When I'm called Mother Abbess, I feel old and empty." The Abbess said as they walked up the hallways. "Alright, alright." He replied. "I'll just call you Mini Minutus. Now you'll feel as young as a Dibbun." Minutus chased her friend around in a circle for a few minutes until they were both winded.

Regg, the old shrew recorder, walked up to them. "Mother Abbess, I just added the Writings of Old Abbot Thibb to the library. I have just begun searching through the writings of Tadd, his successor." He reported. "Thank you, Regg. I hope that we will soon have the writings of every Recorder and Abbot in our library." Regg walked away and Minutus and Charvan parted ways, Charvan heading down to the cellar, and Minutus going upstairs to her bedroom. As she walked into her room and sat on the bed, she picked up a dusty old book. "A History of Redwall Abbey and all of it's Abbots and Abbesses." she read to herself. She looked at the table of contents. The things written on it were things such as: "The Late Rose Summer Wars", "The Battle of the Ridge", Abbess Germaine, Abbot Mortimer, Abbot Mordalfus, Abbess Tansy, Abbot Arven, Abbess Mhera, Abbot Saxtus, Abbot Bernard, and Abbot Thibb. The only name she recognized was Abbot Thibb. He was the Abbot of Redwall fourty-two seasons before Minutus was even born. He later retired to Recorder and was succeeded by Abbot Tadd. Abbess Bracken the hedgehog was Minutus' predecessor. She was also Charvan and Troggan's aunt. Minutus didn't even notice the hours going by. Before she knew it, it was time for dinner.

Dinner was moderately loud. Along with the usual jabber of everybeast talking, there was the clanking of plates, cups, and mugs. Friar Cocus and his assistants Hope Spearback, Chorvan's wife, Lucas Ottercook, Borum Molecook, brother of Foremole Talpa, and young Drey the squirrel were all picking up plates, placing new ones, and figuring out what dish was needed and where.

After dinner Minutus came to the kitchens to help wash dishes. She knew very well that everybeast would say "This isn't a job for an Abbess" and "You have more important things to do". But that didn't matter to her. Before she was Abbess, she was The Infirmary Keeper. She helped with dishes all the time. She was just Sister Minutus. She didn't see how an authoritative position and a title was an excuse to not let her help when she could. As she started, Borum walked up to her. She half-expected him to tell her that she shouldn't be here. "Oi, thank 'ee very much! Oi daon't feel so good! Oi think oi'll be a'headin' on up to the Infirmary." He said. As he walked out of the kitchen he almost fell. Minutus grabbed him just in time before he hit the ground. "I believe I'll help you get up there, Borum." Sister Glareolus, the Infirmary Keeper, looked inside Borum's mouth. "Hmm, yes I do believe I have two sicknesses Borum could have: one, being the Dizzy Fever, and two being Cavern Headache.He seems to have the symptoms for both." the bankvole said. "Yes, Sister, but Borum doesn't have aching joints. So Dizzy Fever is out." The two pondered over what the diagnosis was for the mole. "Borum, have you been down in Cavern Hole often? Helping your sister, Foremole Talpa, perhaps?" Minutus asked. "Oi, Oi have. But that was only fer a few minutes. Oi was helpin' my sister lift rocks outer the way." "Ah, you see, Sister? Cavern Headache comes from lack of time in the sun. Cellarhogs, Foremoles, and Cellarmoles often get it. But Borum here is just a kitchen assistant!" Abbess Minutus said confidently. She felt a need to remind everyone that she used to be the Infirmary Keeper and a healer herself. "Well, there is one more thing he could have....." she continued. "No, you don't mean that!" Glareolus said, worried. "Oh, yes I do mean that!" the harvest mouse replied, just as fearful as the Infirmary Keeper. "B-but that's just an old wives' tale! I mean, that couldn't really happen! I mean, who in their right mind would do such a thing?" Glareolus sputtered. "I don't know, Sister. But someone out there must have, and we must face the facts: we have a confirmed case of The Death Plague!"

Chapter Two

Gladir Raz scrambled back up onto his feet. Valen was already up, and Gladir heard the pitiful moans of pain. Before him, he saw two rats, one stoat, one weasel, one fox, and two ferrets. "It worked! They've returned to help me!" the black rat cried. "Who has?" a huge rat asked. "All of you! You've returned from HellGates!" he replied. "I don't know where you're from, bucko, but where I'm from, Cluny the Scourge only helps himself." A ferret with a paw in a gauntlet said, "Funny. I've never heard of you, Cluny the Scourge. Who gave you that name? Your mother?!" he said. "At least I've got both paws intact, bignose!" The rat replied. "How dare you talk to Swartt Sixclaw the Warlord like that!" the smaller, second rat, unsheathed his scimitar and said, "Aw, shuuddup both of you!" I got a blasted headache!" The fox came forward and said, "You think you're so great, 'Cluny'? I used to give orders to rats as big as yourself! I'm Urgan Nagru the Foxwolf!" The smaller rat pointed his scimitar threateningly at the fox. "You foxes think you're so great just because you're big, huh? I knocked one of your kind down to size once!" Urgan Nagru sneered. "And who are you, oh Great One?" The smaller rat growled. "Why I'm Raga Bol, the dreaded corsair captain!" The weasel took out two daggers and pointed them both at the arguing fox and rat. " Listen, you're all gonna shut your mouths or I'll pin you all to ground with a knife in your throat!" The second ferret, who was wore tattoos all over his body, took out a huge dagger with a beautiful blue pommelstone on the hilt. "You think you can use those toys against me!? I'm Sawney Rath, chieftain of Juskarath!" The stoat, who was the last to speak, took out a sword. "I'm Badrang the Tyrant, and I alone say who lives and dies!" he shouted over the arguing.

Gladir left the tent, tired out and disappointed with what he had just done. They were too busy arguing to even think about respecting the beast who brought them back from the dead. He decided to take a nap on the ground, seeing as his tent was occupied.

The stoat Savidacus was very crafty, and was often called a silvertongue, which is what everybeast called him. Seeing his leader laying on the ground, he decided to walk over to him. "Aye, what's wrong, chief?" the stoat asked in a voice that sounded like it held sympathy, but it did not.

"What's it to you, Silvertongue?" the black rat asked. "Oh, well just seein' you curling up on th' ground like a little infant, I wondered what was botherin' you." he replied.

"Oh, well you know I've always wanted to take that Redwall Abbey? WEll, I used Necromancy to bring back some o' the toughest, most evil beasts ever to walk the earth. An' now, they're too busy tryin' to kill each other to listen or respect me. Now what am I gonna do with them? I can't let 'em wander around Mosflower, they'll get into all kinds of trouble."

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