NOTE FROM ME: If you want to be Updated, go onto my userpage and sign the updates section. It helps keep things organized for me, which means I'm less likely to forget to update you. KAPISH? good.
A door slowly creaked open, shedding a thin band of light on the mouse sitting at the old desk. She looked up and smiled at the molebabe poking his head around the solid oaken plank
“are you here for your story Durby?” asked the mousemaid
“yur oi am miz. Can yoi tell me about yon stick?” answered the mole
“of course,” she glanced at the ‘stick’, something that looked like a cross between a staff and a mace, slim and smooth on one end, with deadly wooden spikes on the other, “but I’m afraid it isn’t much of a story, so I’ll tell you instead about its wielder, and her companions” she ran her paws down the shaft, pausing momentarily on its name, The Shortspike.
“Here’s how it goes.”
All was silent. Not a bird chirped, nor insect stirred, struck by the scene of carnage before them. Smoke drifted up from the blackened ruins of the two dwellings in the woods. Inside one of the houses, a mousemaid stirred. She staggered to her feet and stared around in confusion, her gaze suddenly stopping on the twitching form of a hedgehog. She rushed to the beast, but already knew he was dying. He managed to gasp “they came to quickly Snowy, we couldn’t fend them off”
“I know Greyspike, I know” she managed to reply
“They killed almost everyone, but they took Leaf and Night!”
Snowy gasped, blood trickling down from a wound on her face she just noticed. Her brother and sister! She should have saved them, she should have. But instead she had run to the Palespike’s house and almost gotten herself killed.
“Nothing you could have done” Greyspike continued, then he went limp as life left him.
Snowy lowered her head tears mingling with the blood. All of her family was either dead, or enslaved. She raised her head scolding herself. No time for moping, there was wood to gather, bodies to find, a funeral pyre to build… she got up and started working.
The sun was setting as Snowy walked off, following the trail left by the weasel and his gang. She didn’t look back to the thin column of smoke coming from the fire she built for her family. She walked forwards knowing that she would get vengeance, and rescue her siblings, or die trying. She would, or her name wasn’t Snowfall Snowflurie Snowflight Strongtail Sinistri Threebeast Fivepaws Fleetfoot, nicknamed Snowy Longname. She swore it by her spiker, The Longspike
Leaf slowly came out of the dark void of senselessness, becoming aware of a throbbing pain on the back of her head. She opened her eyes and saw her brother, Night, sitting beside her
“Night?” She asked
“Snowy’s not here” he replied, guessing her question
At first Leaf felt a surge of relief that her sister had escaped the vermin, but that quickly turned to despair when she realized that Snowy was probably lying either dead or dying in the ruins of the two houses.
Root shuffled through the Great Hall carrying a heavy basket of walnuts. He was unusually tall and thin for a mole, and quick and agile when he wanted to. The young mole glanced at the tapestry of Martin the Warrior on the wall, an continued his journey to the Kitchen.
Snowy frowned as she tried to make a fire out of the damp wood, annoyed that the rain had soaked the forest and destroyed the trail she was following.When the wood finally caught, she started tending to a large cut on her face that narrowly missed her eye and would surely make a scar. She added some herbs she had salvaged from her house and bound the wound, then started tending her weapons. First, her sword, Seafoam, polishing it and thinking how lucky she was the vermin hadn't stolen it. Then her spiker, The Longspike, waterproofing it, being careful not to impale her paws on the long wooden spikes. Last were her dagger and her knives, tools of death, thievery, and carving. She sharpened them, aware of the creature watching from behind her.
Root curled up in his bed in the dormitories, and was soon asleep. Root was standing on an empty plain, watching the figure gliding to him. He immediately knew that the new figure was Martin the Warrior, but was puzzled on why he was there.
"Zurr Marthin? Why yoom beez here?"
"Find the one who is three
then find the three who are one
stop the slayer with my backwards drows
and become the first and last"
Then Root felt himself drifting back, and woke up to the sound of larks chirping, completely puzzled by his dream, and what a drows was.
Leaf stood up, prepared for another day of harsh marching. She missed her sister, and was wondering that, because she was dead, were Night and Leaf twins, or still triplets.
She promptly decided that they were still triplets, even though one of them was at Dark Forest.
"Up on yer feet lazypaws or I'll use my whip" a short, chubby stoat growled at her
Leaf got up, reasoning that there was no point in getting whipped, while muttering under her breath “Go boil your head fatty"
Snowy looked up at the setting sun, and sighed, as she prepared for another sleepless night. She still hadn’t managed to get rid of the creature that was tailing her. She hadn’t seen them either, though there was an unusually strong scent of pine marten in the area. Snowy was well informed on woodland lore, and knew that pine martens were usually leaders, or close to them. She would have to keep her wits about her.
Root wandered around the abbey, wondering about Martin’s riddle and who, if anyone, should he ask about it. While he was puzzling about it, he ran right into Lancepaw, the resident hare.
“Oim gurtly surry miz.” Root said while helping Lancepaw up of the floor.
“No problem old chap, I’m completely unharmed, wot. I beg your pardon sah, but what’s a fellow like you doing charging through the abbey, not looking where you’re going?” She replied
“Trying to solve a gurtly puzzling riddle” Lancepaw was famous across Mossflower for solving riddles and Root was sure she could help.
“Did you say a riddle old chap? Do you mind if I help sah?” The exentric hare was looking at Root with such joy that he felt it was possible to solve it.
A short while later, Lancepaw and Root were both staring at the copy of the poem he had written out, completely puzzled.
“My first question is what is a drows, eh wot?” Lancepaw mused
Root was about to add on, asking how they could put it backwards, when he suddenly realized
“Hur, oi think weev solved yon gurt puzzle. A drows beez yon backwards sword.”
Lancepaw gaped at him and managed to gasp “That means that bally Martin has just asked you to wield his bally sword!”
Now it was Roots turn to be surprised “Bur oi think that…oim wrong”
“If you are I’m a flipping duck! What I’m worried about is the ‘slayer’ that you are supposed to stop. I think we should have a word with Abbot Saxric, wot wot.”
Leaf staggered along, still wondering about the dream she had the previous night. She had been lying on her side, trying to stay awake, but her paws wear free of the metal shackles that bound them now. She could hear soft breathing behind her and could smell pine marten. Then she lifted up her paw, very inconspicuously, to wipe her eyes, and it was white! She had an idea about why she had the dream, but she was afraid to even think it, fearing either she was wrong, and her sister was carrion, or she was right, and Snowy was about to become carrion.
Snowy was actually setting up camp at that very moment, even though there was a certain chance she would get no sleep. She curled up on her mottled green cloak, thankful that it was a warm summer night. She tried to stay awake, but she had gotten no sleep at all last night and her eyelids slowly started to droop, and before she knew it, she was asleep.
Snowy woke to the melodious singing of the larks. She felt well rested, but was slightly groggy, so she took a moment to take in her surroundings. When she did, the first thing that actually registered was that there was a pine marten, probably her follower, squatting on the other side of the campfire!
Snowy scrambled to her paws, quickly drawing her weapons. A muffled gasp escaped from the pine marten, who was obviously surprised at the weaponry she wielded, and she was a terrifying sight, with a sword in one paw, her spiker in the other and a dagger held in her tail.
“What do you want, vermin?” she growled.
The pine marten looked surprised, and then said “food.”
“Well, you aren’t eating me.” Something was strange about this situation, she just couldn’t put her paw on it.
“I won’t, just please give me some roots, or some fruit or maybe…” he trail off, intimidated by the icy glare Snowy was giving him. “Look, if I wanted you dead, you’d never have woken up”
She thought about this for a moment and asked, “So why am I currently alive?”
A low growl emanated from him as he snapped “not all ‘vermin’ are evil, you know”
Abbot Saxric looked over his glasses at the hare and mole in front of him. “Are you sure Martin came and told you the riddle?”
“Bur, oim arbsolutly sure zurr Abbot, though we mayhap be solving it wrong.” Root replied, still not convinced by Lancepaw that he was supposed to wield the sword.
“Of course we’re solving the bally riddle correctly, he’s the first mole abbey warrior!” Lancepaw jumped to argue
“Hur, uit proves nothing, mizz Lancepaw!” soon there was a full blown argument between the two.
Night staggered through the thick woods, pulled down by the heavy chains around his paws, muttering about flying stoats and weasels coming back from the dead, earning himself many stares from the slavers. He grinned, figuring that if they thought he was crazy, he would be guarded less, and could escape and get help to rescue the others. His sharp mind noticed everything, even a small piece of wire on the path side. It soon disappeared, picked up by his tail to be put into his pocket. Now he could use his talent of thievery, and lock picking!
Snowy wiped her paws, full after the two scones she just ate, keeping a careful eye on the young pine marten still sitting on the other side of the fire.
“Are you going to tell me your name, or are you leaving?” Snowy asked
“Beechtail Pineten” he swept his tail into view, and Snowy saw that it was light gray, the same color as beech bark, unlike the rest of him, which was the ordinary dark brown.
“Suits you. I’m called Snowy Longname.”
Beechtail merely looked up for a few seconds “So what’s your real name?”
“Snowfall Snowflight Snowflurie Strongtail Sinistri Threebeast Fivepaws Fleetfoot. I’m in a thieving mood, watch your whiskers.”
Beechtail chuckled, muttering “I think I’ll just call you Snowy.”
Root glared at Lancepaw as he edged as far away as possible from the seething hare, which is rather hard to do when you’ve both been punished to washing the dishes as a punishment for arguing.
“Oi still thinks we beez solving it gurtly wrong.” He muttered
“Well I think we were doing a spiffin good job, you bally annoyance!” Lancepaw snapped in reply.
Abbot Saxric had somehow managed to be strolling past while this exchange was going on, and was surprisingly quick to cuff their ears.
“No more arguing, you two, or you’ll both be sent to bed with no dinner!”
A loud thump was apparent as Lancepaw fainted at the mere mention of the punishment.
Night crept silently through the vermin camp, followed by Leaf. There was only an hour until sunrise, so there hadn’t been time to free any others. As soon as they were a safe distance away they started running, unknowingly towards Redwall Abbey!
Snowy and Beechtail hiked through Mossflower Woods, as the noontide sun beat harshly down on them.
“I think it’s time for lunch, eh Snowy?” Beechtail gasped
“Okay, but on the move.” Beechtail suddenly looked like he was about to throw something at her.
“just kidding” she continued “we can stop for a break.”
She dug out two scones and a flagon of water.
“Same as yesterday, hope you don’t-“she stopped suddenly, hearing a rustling noise behind her.
A dark shadow was moving around in the bushes behind her. Snowy crept up to it, holding her spiker, holding the spiked end. The figure was just emerging from the foliage when the blunt end of the spiker thudded into its skull and the warcry of the Fleetfoot clan split the air.
Snowy could hardly stop herself from screaming out in pain as the long spines went straight through her paws with the force of the impact.
Lancepaw woke up in the infirmary, trembling after the dream she just had. She had dreamed that Abbot Saxric had put her to bed with no dinner, as if she was a naughty dibbun!
“Oim gurtly surry that oi argued with yio, marm Lancepaw, and zurr Marthin will reveal to uis wat he means in his own gurt toim.” Root, who was standing beside her bed mumbled.
“I’m sorry to old chap, you absoballylutly right, we will understand old Martin’s words in due course wot wot.”Lancepaw stared at the imfirmary door “and you, Abbot old chap, can come out now. It is very unabbotlike to be hiding behind a door like a dibbun hiding from a badgermum.”
Abbot Saxric’s head poked out from behind the door as he said “I didn’t tell Root to apologize, but I’m so glad the two of you stopped fighting.”
“As long as I get my dinner, eh wot.” Lancepaw replied
Brother Piklon, the gatekeeper, burst through the door, saying “Father Abbot, there’s two mice standing outside of the gates shouting about some ‘slayer’ that’s coming to attack the abbey” in the space of five seconds he was in an empty room.
Abbot Saxric, Root and Lancepaw looked over the battlements at the two young mice. The female had unusually red fur, and the male had black fur. The red one shouted “Hello! Is anyone there? We’ve just escaped from a weasel and his band of slavers, and he’s headed this way. He will attack, and he aint called ‘The Slayer’ for nothing!”
“Let them in.” The old Abbot ordered.
The gates opened and the two mice rushed in. Lancepaw ran down the stairs, and consequently tripped and fell, ears over scut, to land at their feet “Erm… hello, welcome to Redwall Abbey.” She stammered
“Hello, my name’s Night, and this is my sister Leaf” The dark-furred one replied.
“My name’s Lancepaw, that’s Root and Abbot Saxric” Lancepaw said, introducing Root and Saxric, who had gotten down the stairs without incident, and herself.
“Hello, young ones.”Abbot Saxric said “How would you two like to take a bath, I’ll send up some clean habits afterwards” The two mice nodded, as it was already late autumn, and they were only wearing tattered black tunics, and about season’s worth of mud.
A low groan emanated from the owl lying on Snowy’s cloak. Snowy herself was busy using her tail to free her paws from her spiker.
“That was quite a hard hit. I hope I didn’t do any permanent damage.” She was constantly fretting about the young owlmaid.
“Well, if you did, she’ll tell us, see’n as she’s waking up.” Beechtail replied
The owl sat up, rubbing a lump, about the size of a grape, on her head.
“Hello there. I’m Beechtail, and this is Snowy.” Beechtail took the liberty of introducing themselves. “Now, excuse me for asking, but why were you following us?”
“My name’s Songflower, and I am a traveler, looking for Redwall Abbey. I had gotten lost when I found you and was just about to come out to ask for help.”
“Ah… yes. Many nasty types in Mossflower nowadays.” Snowy muttered while tapping her tail on the ground, her ears directed behind her as her paw edged to her sword, which she had removed from its hiding place in her cloak.
Suddenly about a score of assorted vermin emerged from the bushes behind them.
“Hehehehe. Waddo we ‘ave ‘ere mates? An owl, a liddle mousey an’ a goody two-paws pine marten.” A tall, thin rat, probably the leader called to the rest of the gang.
“Ya, an’ dey probably ‘ave good vittles.” A fat weasle replied
“Den let’s get dem”
Snowy was already up, sword in paw, when they charged, but she soon realized that they were outnumbered roughly seven to one.
“Run!” she called to her companions, and they all fled the gang.
Snowy looked up, and saw where they were being chased, a small cave. She turned around, and tried to stand her ground, but she was swept up by the mob and deposited in the cave. A snicker was audible as the fastest runners, who had sprinted ahead, deployed the next part of their plan.
Leaf and Night wandered around the abbey, gaping at practically everything they saw.
“Night! Look at this!” Leaf was pointing at the stained glass windows in the great hall, jumping between the colored shadows. “I will, just come look at this!” Night was admiring the Tapestry of Martin the Warrior.
Leaf hurried over, and they both stood for about ten minutes, studying the brilliant piece of cloth. Not a single detail evaded Night’s eyes, from the rose flowering at Martin’s foot, to the ragged, nearly invisible line going around the warrior mouse.
“Look here. I wonder who did this?” he said, indicating the skillfull mending
“What, the tear, the tapestry or the mending?” the pair whirled around to see a Redwall mouse, about their age, standing in the doorway.
Night thought for a moment and answered “all three.”
“This tapestry is of Martin the Warrior, a founder of Redwall and its first champion. It was woven untold seasons ago and added to by countless generations. The tear is from the Late Rose Summer Wars, when a gigantic bilge rat, Cluny the Scourge, stole Martin in an attempt to demoralize the defenders. It was repaired by the old mouse Methuselah.”
The woodland mice were awestruck by the history behind the wonderous work.
Ruin smiled grimly as he surveyed his horde. His gaze turned to the two cowering guards that had been supposed to be watching the slaves when two escaped. He mirthlessly chuckled at them, reflecting that they had full right to be trembling, seeing as they had angered the Slayer!
His mind drifted back to his mate, a beautiful weasel, distinguished by the thin black stripe running from nose to tail tip. An excellent strategist, slain by a mere maiden. His mouth curled into a snarl. Curse that mouse! He looked over to his sons, sleeping peacefully a few feet away. Ser, a burly young weasel, was snoring uproariously. Ash, a pine marten he had found orphaned in the woods and adopted, turned over, his tail falling along his ‘brother’s’ mouth, silencing him.
Ruin drifted back to reality, as there was work to be done, worthless guards to execute, all manner of jobs for the horde leader.
He pointed at the unfortunate pair, muttering “Take them away and execute them.”
Served them right! Letting his one way of revenge, his one route to justice against the dead mouse, escape!
“Run! Quick! Get farther back into the cave!” Snowy shouted as the rocks pushed by the vermin filled up the entrance to the cave. It roared down in an unstoppable cascade, making the air thick with dust. When the grit settled Beechtail called out “Is everyone alright?”
“Well, Snowy and I are fine, apart from the fact I’m buried up to my neck in rubble, and Snowy’s gone crazy.” Came the muffled reply
“Ok, I’ll get you out. What do you mean by she’s gone crazy?”
“She’s curled up in a ball, whimpering about being trapped and suffocating and dying and other horrible fates we could meet.”
“Ok, first of all, let’s get you out, and then we’ll deal with Snowy. Hey… look right there! I see daylight!”
“Great. Now we’ll starve to death in this…” Snowy trailed off, trembling and whimpering.
“You know, if somebeast is outside, they won’t know we’re he-.” He was stopped by Songflower’s wing covering his mouth.
“Shshshsh! Someone’s out there!” She whispered
“Hello! Anybeast out there?” Songflower called in a loud voice
“Lucky fer you we are, mates!” a voice came from behind the rubble, “Now, how did ye get yerselves in this mess?”
“Some vermin trapped us in here!”
“Right, stay there mates, me an’ my crew will get foremole an’ ‘is crew.” Skipper ran off to Redwall Abbey.
Snowy kept whimpering.
Leaf wandered through the abbey, following her nose to the kitchens, which had become her favorite part of the old building. She turned the corner and almost walked into the same redwall mouse that had told them about the tapestry.
“Ah! Sorry there!” Leaf exclaimed.
“No problem… um…what’s your name again?”
“Leaf Fleetfoot. And you are?”
“Whoi, ‘ello ‘ere zurr Nim, marm leafer.” Root shambled into Cavern hole “how beezn yoim a doin?”
“ Very good, thank you Root. How are you?”
“Oim gud, thankee coindlee fer arskin mizz.” Root shambled into the great hall.
“Bye” Leaf called to Nim as she continued her journey to the kitchen
Nim stood, long after Leaf left, then walked out, muttering “Hu! I’m in love with an escaped slave! Arisam will never let me forget this! Anoying sister.”
Ruin listened to his trackers as they told him about what they had found
“We found der tracks chief, dey lead to dat WallAbbey Red place. We also found dis cave with lotsa stones an’ rocks in front o’ it. Smelled like Otter an’ Mouse an’ owl an’ rats an’ other vermin an’” he looked around to make sure Ash wasn’t around, then continued “Pine marten”
“Well, we can recruit the vermin, if the Pine marten causes trouble we’ll kill it, The mice an’ such must be trapped in the cave, we’ll leave them to rot.”
“Chief, the otters came, an’ left, to fetch help, an’ the pine marten is in the cave.”
“No matter, we’ll march to Redwall, and if we find that vermin band, make them join.”
Ash crept away from the tree he had been hiding in. He didn’t enjoy death like the rest of the army, and when he had heard about the cave-in, resolved to free them. He crept through Mossflower Woods, until he reached the cave. He listened for a few moments, and, hearing silence ventured to call out
“Hello? Anybeast there?”
He was startled by the reply, or more accurately the voice that said it, as it was nearly exactly like his “Hello? Who is that?”
“My name is Ash. What’s your’s?”
“Beechtail Pineten. Are you a friend?”
“Yes, I’m a friend. Do you have an escape plan?”
“Skipper of the otters is getting the molecrew. He should be here any second.”
Ash jumped at the sound of the approching voices “He’s here. Bye mate”
Ash left, glad that the creatures trapped in the cave were about to be rescued, and headed back to camp.
“Snowy! Wake up! The moles are here!”
Snowy scrambled to her feet, all traces of her apparent madness gone. She could see, rather quickly, the mole’s claws churning through the earth and rock.
“ Yurr. Oi beez a thinkin’ yon beasts be owt afore lunch!”
“ Hurr. That beez gurtly gud. Oi parked us’n a gurt lunch”
“ Zurr Root will be gurtly mad to miss a Deeper'n'Ever Turnip'n'Tater'n'Beetroot Pie, yurr e will!”
“Hurr, e beez solvin yon gurt riddle an’ lookin arfter yon guests.”
“Oi think ets dun!”
Snowy and the others crawled of the tunnel, and were immediately surrounded by the molecrew. Four chattered nonstop in their quaint speech, and the other one remained silent, and started setting out lunch.
“Cum on, toim to eat, yon lot.” The mole setting out lunch called.
“Hurr, oid liok that, yurr oi would.” A pudgy mole called
The moles continued chattering, and were soon oblivious of the food. Snowy, Beechtail and Songflower inched towards the food, and were soon wolfing down the delicious fare, along with the other mole.
“Don’t moind yon lot, couln’t stop tailkin’ to save yon loives. That beez woi foremole sent thoim, so yon could get a head start on eat’n.” He whispered to them.
“Smart mole.” Snowy muttered back.
Leaf sat in the Great Hall, staring at the kindly figure of Martin on the Tapestry, an activity which had become one of her favorite things to do, along with plunder the kitchen with Night and Nim, who had shown an odd talent for thievery.
“You ever notice how his eyes seem to follow you?” Leaf turned around to see Nim, lounging in his usual position against the wall.
“You know, there’s an interesting story behind how the Tapestry actually came to Redwall.”
“I certainly hope that comment will not result in a history lesson,” Leaf replied, smiling mischievously, “seeing as there are ‘preparations’ to be done.”
“I take it you’re planning another raid on the kitchen?”
“Improvised? This will be fun!”
“Only partially. If it was fully improvised it would be a spur-of-the-moment decision.” Leaf reminded him
Leaf jumped as a paw tapped her on the shoulder, and turned around to see Night grinning behind her. She looked at Nim, to see him with a similar look on his face.
“You had this planned, didn’t you?”
“Yep.” Night replied, still smiling.
“Well then you already know about tonight.” said Leaf as she walked out, obviously trying to stop herself from laughing. As she was leaving the Great Hall, she nearly walked into Arisam, Nim’s sister.
“Hello Arisam!” Leaf said as she kept walking to the dormitories.
Arisam glared at her, then flounced off, obviously annoyed by Leaf apparently ignoring her. Arisam always got annoyed when she thought she was being ignored.
Ruin marched at the head of his army, flanked his head tracker, Dran, and his healer, Irsa. Ser and Ash marched in the middle of the horde, still towards the front, in the safest place of the formation. He ground his teeth, remembering his oath he made on the night his mate died, the oath that he would not lose his sons. He had made another oath, to take revenge on the mouse that killed his mate! Of course, it is rather hard to take revenge against a deadbeast, but there is always her kin!
“Hurr, weez beez armost at yon arbby, yurr.”
Snowy sighed, as she had become tired with the mole’s ceaseless chatter, which she had put up with for a full two hours.
“Yurr, et gurtly stinks of varments!” One muttered
Snowy immediately became alert. “Are you sure, Loamsnout?” Snowy asked the normally quiet mole.
“Hurr et does, they beez a followin’ us, burr aye. Yon varmints can’t unnerstan’ us, hurr.” Loamsnout smiled mischievously, purposely speaking in even quainter molespeech.
“Hurr, en. Leets al speek loik yon molers hurr.” Snowy called
“Yurr, et will beez gurtly entranin’!” Beechtail called “But whio we beez a doin’ et?”
“Cus sum rascally varments beez a following us, an’ they can’t unnerstan’ yon moler speech!” Snowy continued, “So I’ll beez a stayin’ ‘ere, an’ youm can take moi starf, an’ get yon rest to yon arbby, then cum get yon poor choild.”
“Burr, oi don’ loik et, but oi’ll do et.” Beechtail mumbled “An’ oi’ll use moi gurt clarws, burr oi will” Songflower called, speaking slowly as she translated her thoughts into molespeech.
“Thankee koindly Marm Songflo’er, Zurr Beechtial. Oi! Yon lot go with ‘ese two, oi’ll catch oip.” Snowy told the moles, who immediately followed Songflower and Beechtail, still chattering. Snowy tossed her spiker to Beechtail, and the group left, just as vermin burst out on all sides of them.
“Where are you goin’?” a particularly ugly stoat snarled
Snowy drew her sword and ran him threw, shouting “RUN!”
The others ran to the abbey, having to literally drag Beechtail with them, as the pine marten was rather reluctant to leave Snowy alone against a score and a half of vermin. Little did they know that soon she would be facing only a score. The rest would be chasing after the relatively unarmed group that was currently running for help.
Night walked along the hallway, blending in with the shadows, his newly mended tunic helping his camouflage. He was almost invisible, even though it was still day. He was practicing for the raid, which would take place at midnight, when the only creatures awake were Afie, a young squirrel who had the unfortunate habit of staying up all night reading about the abbey history, and as a result she would always sleep through breakfast, and , on some nights, kitchen raiders. He was deep in thought, and not looking where he was going, and strolled right into the aforementioned squirrel, who was half asleep.
“Sorry Afie! Didn’t see you there.” He exclaimed, helping the dozing squirrel up.
“That’s-“ She stopped to yawn “That’s okay.”
“I think you should go get some sleep.”
“You’re probably right. Goodnight.” She shuffled off to the cellars, where she lived with her ‘uncle’ Lecse Grayspike, who was said to be able to sleep through anything, and her sister, Nesk.
“It’s only midafternoon!” Night muttered, walking off, and collided with brother Piklon, the gatekeeper “Oof! Brother Piklon, does it happen to be ‘Run into Night day’?”
“Come to think of it, it is!” He said smiling.
Ser strolled around the camp, his pale orange eyes flickering, searching. He was searching for Hasn, a young stoat that spied on the troops to prevent mutiny. He also happened to be Ser’s friend. Cruel and ruthless, he was almost the same as Ser, and one who would be promoted to a captain when Ser got more power. A stoat strolled past, and a piece of paper fell onto the ground. The weasel quickly hid it in his footpaw, to read later. A rat scrambled past, and Ser stuck out his other foot and tripped him, knowing that he was protected by his father’s cruel reign.
It was chaos. Snowy was wreaking havoc on the score of vermin. Or, more accurately, the half-score live vermin and half-score dead ones. Unfortunately, the others weren’t faring so well, seeing as they had never been in a battle, or had any training. Beechtail took full advantage of the varied uses of the spiker, sometimes using it as a club or mace, other times using the long spike at the front and stabbing rats, like with a spear. Never the less, it was still going badly, as Songflower had all her attention diverted to usering the moles, along with Loamsnout. The aforementioned mole tripped, and discovered a rat had sneaked past Beechtail. Songflower darted back, and actually picked up the frightened mole, while pecking the vermin in the face. She then flew back to the other moles, and screamed at them to hurry up. This resulted in Skipper and his crew, who were, coincidentally, taking a stroll in Mossflower woods just out of hearing range of the quiet battle, rushing to their aid. A quick glance at the pandemonium sent them darting to a beleaguered Beechtail. In roughly two minutes, they had driven the surviving vermin off. After Beechtail had screamed at them to ‘stop staring, I know I’m a pine marten, go save my friend!’ they had rushed to Snowy’s aid, to find out it was rather unnessisary, as she had somehow found access to another sword, then gone into a spin, her tail low to the ground with her dagger, and had caused the five remaining vermin to flee.
Ignoring the stares of the ottercrew, she turned to Beechtail, and rather calmly said, “Glad to see you didn’t manage to get yourself killed. Can I have my spiker back, here; I’ll give you this sword.”
At that point, many of the otters had decided that she was either crazy, had faced five score of vermin on her own, or both. Beechtail was simply wondering how she didn’t fall down from being so dizzy, as he knew the answer. Sometimes, a flying hedgehog couldn’t be crazier, especially during battle. He remembered the first day they were hiking, when he had gotten so tired of her looking at him every five seconds as if she expected him to charge at her with a poisoned sword that he started to tell her his story.
He was only a season old when his village had been attacked by an army of crows. The members were peaceful, having sworn themselves to peace. His family was the one that had been there the longest time, as one of his earliest ancestors had founded the town many seasons ago, after escaping from a fortress in the center of Mossflower, led by a crazy wildcat. He had gone as far away as possible without leaving Mossflower. He then had founded a village. But that was not his story, so he continued. After the village had been attacked, he had crawled away, found some roots, and lived that way, journeying deeper into Mossflower Woods. He had wandered, eternally haunted by that fateful day when he had lost his friends and family. The memories he had before that were few, but he remembered his twin brother, even though the name eluded him.
Snowy had grinned, and said “Well the, looks like we’ve something in common then. But, you’re lucky, cus you don’t get vision problems in a fight!”
That was when he figured out that she was crazy.
Leaf and Night wandered around, waiting for dinner. Even when they went on raids, they still tucked in to the Abbey food. Nim did to, as the majority of the plunder was usually candied chestnuts and other such small food. They were strolling past the front gate when they heard somebeast pounding on the door. Leaf was just about to open it when a voice hollered out
“Hello! There’s about fifteen famished beasts waiting to be let in!”
It was very fortunate Snowy had yelled so loud, otherwise they’d have to wait until somebeast noticed the two mice in dead faint outside the gates.
Ruin hardly looked up as the foraging party he had sent out blundered back to camp
“What is it?”
A thin stoat stepped forwards and mumbled “Urm…Chief, we were attacked by a ghost.”
He ducked, prepared for a beating from Ruin. Instead, he asked, “What do you mean by ghost”
“It…it had white fur, an’ couldn’t be killed. It slew fifteen of us by itself!”
Ruin grinned, realizing a chance for even greater revenge. “You! What’s your name?”
“Mucky, sir.” The terrified vermin replied
“You, Mucky are now one of my captains! Bigger share of loot when we conquer the Abbey!”
The crazy weasel grinned, relishing the chance to kill that accursed mouse!
“Who’s there? Are you friend or foe? An’ how’d you put two mice in a faint without touchin’ them” A voice called from behind the gates
“It’s Skipper, you fergetful excuse fer a gatekeeper! An’ wadoya mea-” He was interrupted by Snowy
“Are the two mice new here with strangely colored fur?
Brother Piklon’s mouth dropped open as he replied “Yes, How do you know that?”
“I just so happen to be their partially crazy sister. Why do you ask?” Snowy asked serenely, which certainly belied her current action of jumping up and down and trying to get a bemused Beechtail to dance.
“Ah… do you mean the one who they thought was dead and such? Because if so… ARE YOU CRAZY?”
Beechtail stifled a bout of giggles and called “Well, she said she was, so what do you think? And are you going to let us in?”
The door opened smoothly, and the voice of the old mouse was clearly audible as he muttered “Crazy? Biggest under-exaggeration of my life!”
At about this moment, Leaf and Night came around and ran out the ajar door, acting similar to dibbuns the first time they see the snow, right down to the outrageous, high pitched squealing. Snowy thought this was quite funny, and started acting like a guardian, lecturing them.
“Now, where have you lot been? Do you know I almost got myself killed twice looking for you! I was worried sick! Next time that happens I’ll lock you up until you’re old and gray!” she lectured, then burst out laughing
At this time, Piklon had deemed that the entire company had gone crazy to bring a pine marten to the abbey. Beechtail seemed to sense this, and turned to him, saying,
“Surely there have been other good ‘vermin’ to grace this abbey and its grounds?”
“Erm…um… I don’t... know. Um… Maybe?” The flustered brother stammered
“Why, yes there was. Blaggut, Graylunk, maybe Grubbage and Veil Sixclaw, motives questionable.” Afie was standing in front of the gates, rubbing her eyes and generally looking very tired.
“Afie! I thought you were going to take a rest.” Night glared accusingly at her.
It was Afie’s turn to be flustered “Um… Er…I was, but I had a really weird dream and, um, I was going to tell the abbot when I heard the commotion.”
“What sort of dream?” Idso, the second youngest member of the patrol asked.
“Weird dream. Martin was really strange.”
“Did someone say they had a bally dream about bally Martin? Is it a riddle? Count me in old chaps, eh wot!” Everyone turned to see Lancepaw sitting on the lawn a little while away
“ Um… It not a riddle, at least, I think it isn’t. Martin pointed at me and said
Vermin in the woods!
I got the first bit, but the bit about a duck puzzles me.”
“Well, the answer’s quite obvious, Duck!” Snowy said, while tripping most of the creatures outside with her long tail and falling flat on her face, right as a rain of stones flew overhead. Most of the stones missed, but a few struck the beasts still standing. In the confusion (as a large crowd had gathered inside the abbey by this time) the otters picked up the senseless beasts and ran everyone inside. Unfortunately, they missed two young female otters. Idso and Sophia, the youngest of the patrol, were forgotten.
For the second time in one day a group of vermin stumbled into camp, this time burdened by the two young otters they were carrying. Ruin looked up, and his face contorted into a snarl when he saw the absence of the hated mouse.
“I told you to bring me the mouse. Why do I have two otters instead?” he asked, drawing his sword, the edge glistening where it had been broken long ago, then replaced by some opaque red stone, giving the impression it was eternally covered in blood. He pointed it at a thin rat, who was in charge of the party.
“We was really quiet, Chief. We went real quiet-like to the wood edge, an,” The captain gulped, then continued “an we was real quiet when we threw the stones, like you asked, Chief. But right as we let go of the stones, most of them tripped. The ones that were still standin’ we hit right on der heads. An’ dey picked up all the ones we hit, but they fergot these two, so we brought dem back fer questionin’.”
“Ah, yes. Good. Now, tell me my captain, what good will these do us?”
“Erm… so den we’ll know what der weaknesses are, so den we can beat dem, you can get yer revenge, an’ we can get our booty.”
“These otters are the only thing that saves you from a horrible death for your failure.” He paused as the rat visibly relaxed “But you failed, and I know you were planning a mutiny, so,” He stopped, and swiftly dispatched the vermin.
He turned to the awakening otters, his blade edge glistening red, though this time it was no ruse. The younger of the otters saw him, and started screaming
“Please sir, don’t kill m- us! We never meant any ‘arm we was jus-” she was stopped by the other otter, older by only a few seasons, elbowing her and muttering in her ear
“Hush Sophia, we don’t tell ‘im anythin’.”
Ruin grinned evilly, and brought the blade to the older’s throat. “What were you doing that you are so determined to hide from me? Come on, you can tell me, I always reward loyalty.”
The otter frowned and shook her head, adamant that she would not tell anything. Ruin told his guards to chain her to a tree for a few days without any food or water, and then turned to Sophia.
He brought the blade to her throat, and then asked the same question he had asked before. “What were you doing that your friend is so determined to hide from me? Come on, you can tell me, I always reward loyalty.”
This otter gave in immediately “We were bringing some creatures to the Abbey, though I don’t know why they needed an escort, the mouse dealt with a score of creatures on ‘er own!”
Ruin smiled “I heard, now, I want you to tell me as much about the Abbey as you can. They’re strengths, weaknesses, everything.”
Sophia obliged, telling him everything she knew about the abbey, right down to past wars and strategies one would have the most success in trying to take over the Abbey
Leaf paced outside the infirmary door, wondering why Snowy had fainted. After she had tripped everyone, instead of purposely falling, she had fainted.
“Well, I guess that the raid isn’t going to happen.” Leaf turned to see Nim lounging against the wall.
“Thanks for trying.” All of the Abbey dwellers had been trying to distract her from Snowy, unfortunately, none of them were suceeding.
A commotion suddenly started in the Infirmary, and Snowy’s voice was audible, as she shouted “My leg is fine! It’s just a tiny scratch!”
The infirmary sister, Bifau practically screamed back “If that’s a scratch then I’m a duck! You fainted from blood loss! You sit down right now! If-” Snowy interrupted her.
“I’m fine! Now where’s my cloak?” Leaf smiled, recalling the traditional Fleetfoot traveling ‘cloak’, which actually looked more like a robe. Leaf and Night had left theirs at the ruined home when they were taken, but Snowy still had hers.
“Right over there. What do you put in it, it weighs a ton!” Leaf smirked, and waited for Snowy’s response
“My Sword, Spiker, Dagger, two knives, the sheaths, and, um, that’s it. It’s not that heavy.” This was followed by astonished stutters from Sister Bifau.
“You’ve already bandaged my leg, so, I’ll be leaving.” The door opened, and Snowy limped out, to be tripped by Leaf.
“If you’re limping, you need rest. Get back in there!”
“No! I need to see, erm, whoever’s in charge of dealing with weird dreams!” She had started pouting by this point.
“That job doesn’t exist. I’ll help you though. And will you please be quiet, I’m reading right below you.” They turned to see Afie standing at the top of the stairs. “Now, what’s this weird dream?”
“Erm, I saw that otter, the young one who asked you what sort of dream you had, chained to a tree. I said it was weird!”
In a few seconds she was staring at the empty space where everyone had been, and listening to Afie shouting at Skipper to do a ‘head count’, whatever that was. She looked at the stairs, considered taking her spiker out to use as a walking stick, realized she would either break the spike at the tip, or scratch the floor. She grumbled for a second, then saw a old pole leaning against the wall. She limped over to it, and was about to pick it up when she lost her balance and fell. She got up, muttering about how ‘it wasn’t this bad in the fight’ and hobbled down the stairs. She was just off the stairs when she was knocked over by Skipper, who raced up the stairs.
“Idso? Sophia? Are you up there?” He called
He ran right into Bifau, who had finally gotten over the shock of Snowy ‘waltzing’ out of the infirmary and was running down the stairs.
“Sister Bifau! Just the mouse I was looking for! Are Idso and Sophia still up in the-” The Sister cut him off
“No they aren’t! And that mouse over there isn’t, even though she should be!” she pointed at Snowy, who had gotten up and was limping towards the kitchen, her nose smelling the famous Redwall food.
“A rouge slingstone probably hit her. She’ll be fine!”
“Rouge slingstone? She has a large cut on her leg! She fainted from blood loss!”
“Actually, I’m pretty sure it was a slingstone.” Snowy intervened, seeing an opportunity to get rid of the pushy Infirmary keeper.
“See, she’s fine! All she needs is some food!”
Soon there was a full blown argument between the two, which allowed Snowy to sneak off to the kitchen.
Ruin was getting bored of hordebeasts blundering into his camp. The most recent patrol stumbled into camp, hampered by the weight that was being shepherded from the middle.
“I hope this time you actually got what I asked you to get.” Ruin muttered, his paw straying to his sword hilt
“Erm, yes chief, we got you a young ‘un, an’ we are pretty shore dat it knows da woods an’ path an’ such.” Mucky, who was leading the patrol, replied “But its kinda big, but real aggreeable.”
The patrol parted to reveal a badger of about nine seasons standing, paws bound, in the circle they had formed. The young one trembled, and shrank back when Ruin approached her.
“A bit younger than I hoped for, but it will do.” He smiled, and then walked away; saying “Put her with the younger otter. Feed them well.”
The patrol scurried to do his bidding, knowing that if they had not done his command by the time their leader returned, the consequences would be fatal.
And Ruin usually left his captives for only a few minutes before returning to question them.
Snowy wandered around the Abbey, navigating mainly by her nose. She limped into the kitchen, where she was nearly knocked over by a tall hare dashing out of the kitchens, followed closely by a fat mouse waving a huge ladle
“And stay out you glutton! Next time I catch you in these kitchens I’ll tan your tail so hard you won’t be able to sit down for a season!” He squeaked in an outrageously high pitched voice.
The hare ran right into Snowy, who had backed away from the entire scene.
“My apologies!” the hare blurted at Snowy. “Sorry for knockin’ ya over like that, but when a mad friar’s chasing after ya…”
“That’s okay.” Snowy said, pushing back her hood, which had fallen over her face. Lancepaw, (for that was who the hare was) immediately started babbling about Snowy’s scar
“Why, I say old chappess! You must be a right old battler.Look at that bally scar!”
“What? Oh, it’s nothing.”
“Nothing? That scar is huge! It’s pretty much dividing your blinking face in two!” Lancepaw stammered. In effect, that last statement was correct. The long scar slashed diagonally across her face, contrasting brightly against her pure white fur. “And what’s with the bloomin’ robe! That thing is so splotchy it looks like you soaked some parts in a stream!”
“Great for camouflage. And it’s not splotchy, it’s mottled. And trust me, this robe is a lot stranger than that.” Snowy’s tail lifted up her hood a bit, which revealed a cleverly concealed pouch in it, which fell right over the sword hilt that seemed to be growing out of her back.
“Can you get me one of those things?” Lancepaw managed to stammer out.
“Sorry mate. I don’t have the right fabric to make it. And anyway, I currently have requests from my brother and sister!”
The two new friends laughed, unaware of the fact that their peace was short-lived.
Ruin strolled back to where Sophia and the young badger were tied to the tree.
“Now young ones,” He snarled “tell me, do you know any better campsites than this area? Easier to defend?”
The young badger spoke, her voice barely above a whisper. “I-I know of a better place.”
“Good, little one. Now tell me, what is your name?”
“Sage. What a pretty name. Will you please, Sage, lead us to this better campsite?” Ruin drew his sword a tiny bit, making it clear what would happen if she was wrong.
Sage and Sophia were untied, and Sage lead them to a large clearing, the thin tree coverage around it making it harder to attack, and easier to defend.
“Good little ones. Wait here.”
A flick of his tail signaled the guard to tie up the two trembling woodlanders.
Mushroom stumbled through the woods, her eyes shining with unshed tears
“Tears can wait.” The young badger muttered to herself. “I’ll grieve for them when that stoat is dead!”
Mushroom crashed through the woods, on the search for revenge for the death of her parents.
Revenge against the stoat Hasn!
Snowy wandered around the kitchens, helping occasionally, occasionally using her tail to steal a piece of food. Her scarred face twitched in a tiny smile as two scones disappeared into a pocket in her robe. One for her, one for Lancepaw, her new friend. None of the kitchen mice seemed to think that a pure white mouse wandering around the kitchen in a splotched, baggy robe was unusual. I wonder if this happens a lot? She mused in her mind as she helped a small hedgehog with a large plate of scones probably not she answered her own question. Deciding she had enough food, she headed out the kitchen, and strolled into the Great Hall, where she had agreed to meet with Lancepaw, who had agreed to give her a tour of the Abbey, which led to Snowy offering to ‘bring refreshments’.
“Snowy old chappess! Ready for your spiffin’ tour?” Lancepaw jumped out from a shadow, grinning like a… well… mad hare (which she was).
“Yes Lancepaw. Thank you very much for offering.”
“No problem! Now, this spiffin’ area is the Great Hall, used for big feasts an’ the like!” Snowy noticed that Lancepaw started drooling at the word ‘feasts’. “ And this cloth here is Martin’s tapestry! Martin is one of the Abbey’s founders and its first champion. Now, on to Cavern Hole, eh wot?”
Snowy followed the eccentric hare, who was taking her duty as tour guide a bit to seriously.
“ This here is Cavern Hole! A bit smaller than the Great Hall, an’ used for more informal meals. Dur-”
“Informal meals? Does that mean this is a good place to eat the food I brought?” Snowy managed to stop Lancepaw from overloading her mind with Abbey history.
“F-food? Of couse! A jolly little picnic!” Lancepaw started, once again, drooling.
“Okay… you get two scones, half a loaf of bread, a slice of cake, and a peach. I get the same.”
“Spiffin’ plan! Though, may I ask, what are these ‘peach’ things you’re talking about?” The hare and the mouse then sat down to eat.
“You don’t know what a peach is? There were some peach trees growing near our home… I picked some as I set off. They’re a type of fruit."
Ash wandered through the camp, trying to look like a warlord’s son. Not easy, seeing as he was adopted, and didn’t approve with his father’s methods (or his goal, for that matter). He fingered the tiny piece of ashwood strung around his neck, one end sharp and jagged, as if newly broken, the others soft and rounded. The word ‘Ash’ was engraved on one side, thus his name. The rest had been broken off, the rest of his true name lost, possibly forever. His ash colored tail swished back and forth as he recalled how he became Ruin’s ‘son’.
Ruin and his mate, Hefij, were walking in the woods, with Ser back at the horde, being looked after by a soldier. They had stumbled upon a baby pine marten, being attacked by a large crow. Hefij, who was particularly hungry at that moment, killed the bird. Her and Ruin then decided that a pine marten could be a valuable horde member. They had named him Ash, after the necklace he was still wearing at that moment. Eventually, he became a sort of son to the two horde leaders.
And now, he was going to leave them.
Mushroom stumbled into a stream, taking deep, gasping breaths. Her eyes glistened with tears, as they turned a pale red. She shook her head, realizing that, if she was going to go berserk, she had better do it when enemies were around.
Fortunately (or perhaps unfortunately) she was not headed towards enemies. She was headed towards friends.
Paws padded on worn sandstone as five figures crept in the direction of the Abbey kitchen. Three wore black tunics, ragged from a journey through the woods (though one was in slightly better condition), one wore the dark green tunic of an abbey dweller, and one wore a long, pale green tunic, which contrasted against its deep brown fur and light grey tail. The only light came from the full moon shining through the stained glass windows, leaving pale pools of color.
The raiding party crept into the kitchen. A white paw swept candied chestnuts from their jar. A dark shadow enveloped some fresh apples. A golden-brown foot paw quietly moved its owner about the room. The shadows of the other two, not accustomed to thievery, reminded the rest to get the guards share as well.
“Just enough for a snack, remember.” The golden-brown mouse whispered
“We know, Nim!” a voice hissed, a long tail twitching in annoyance.
“Calm down, Snowy!” Night suddenly appeared from a shadow. “If we’re caught…” he trailed off, at loss for the punishment they’d receive.
“Hey! Somebeast’s coming!” Leaf was just loud enough for the other thieves to hear.
Nim recognized the paw step immediately. “Arisam! Great!” he whispered in a way that betrayed his opinion of his sister appearing.
The paw steps stopped, and a long shadow appeared in the early dawn light. Nim sighed. He knew they had taken to long!
“Nim? You’re not doing another raid, are you? Because you might get put on Abbot’s report!”
“Um… no!” Nim had luckily been able to hide what he was holding, and the others had been able to hide completely.
“Good!” the mouse strolled off.
“My guess is that she doesn’t like your raids?” Beechtail asked.
“She wouldn’t hesitate one second to tell the abbot. Want to go to the walltops?”
After quickly agreeing to the suggestion, the five friends rushed out of the kitchen.
“Wake up yew ‘opeless liddle woodlanders!” The two young captives were rudely awakened by a grouchy old fox, and hauled to Ruin’s tent. The pair sat, quivering, on the floor as the weasel circled them, a threatening snarl on his face.
“Ya got enny more information fer me?” He growled, his accent suddenly becoming stronger.
“N-n-no s-s-sir… I’ve t-told you everything I know!” Sage stuttered. Ruin smirked, then nodded to Mucky, the stoat captain, who dragged her, screaming, out of the tent. The weasel turned to Sophia.
“Do you know anythin’?”
“I’ve told ya’ everythin’, sir!” the otter wailed.
“Very well then.” The old fox seized the rope around Sophia’s neck, and dragged her back to the pole. The two captives waited for their punishment at the paws of the ruthless warlord. A gaunt otter, forgotten at the other end of the camp, let go of the sharp rock she had been using, and slipped into the stream, swimming in the direction of Redwall Abbey.
Mushroom sat against a rock, her eyes no longer tinted red. Revenge would come, but now, she needed rest. The badger curled up on the ground, and was soon sleeping like a log. Two pairs of eyes watched her from across the stream, guarding her from wandering vermin