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Redwall Heroes Team Up!
Our story begins in the depths of Mossflower Woods where a mole, Axtel Sturnclaw by name, has set up his camp. Right now he is sitting down to eat his mid-day meal: a couple of scones, some cheese and some elderberry cordial. He leans back against an old dead log, enjoying his meal. He thinks back over the past few days. It has been three days since he left Redwall Abbey to journey abroad. The Abbey beasts were sad to see him go, but he has promised to come back every winter, until his wandering spirit is satisfied, then he will go back to stay.
Suddenly the mole warrior hears a smooth swishing sound off to his right. He slowly reaches down to pick up his mighty war hammer. While feigning sleep he is alert and watchful. There! Off to his right he sees movement. He tenses himself waiting to leap up. All of a sudden, a lithe, swift moving figure slithers out from the surrounding grass. A snake! Axtel waits until the snake is within striking distance, then as the reptile rears back it's head to strike the supposedly sleeping mole.... Axtel rolls to his left, the snake strikes, and the great war hammer comes smashing down on the snake's head, killing it instantly. The mole warrior goes over to inspect the markings on the snake's back.
“Hurr, just as oi ascpected. Un adder zurpint.”
Suddenly, as if from no where, a voice speaks.
“That was well struck friend.”
Axtel turns to see a huge badger standing behind him, with a kestrel sitting on his shoulder. The mole bows politely. “Whoi thankee zur. Koind of e to zay zo. But, e zurpint wuz no bother.”
The badger moves closer and Axtel immediately notices two things. The golden stripe on the badger's forehead, and the enormous hornbeam mace that the badger carried in his right paw.
“Wot bees e name zurr?” asks the mole.
“I am called Sunflash the Mace.” replies the badger. “And the hawk is named Skarlath.”
Axtel looks up into the fierce golden eyes of the raptor. “Hurr. You'm look loike e fierce wurriur 'awkburd.”
Skarlath looks down at the mole. “Krahhar! And you are a great fighter too.”
The mole grins. “Oi dos moi best to rid e larnd of e rascaluly vurmints like yon zurpint.”
“Well, much as I'd like to stand around and compliment each other. Skarlath and I have some work to do.” Sunflash pauses. “Would you care to join us? We could use a warrior like you.”
Axtel began packing up his things. “Hurr. Oi'll join e roight away zur! But wot be's we doin' moight oi arsk?”
Sunflash shouldered his mace. “We're looking for a Marlfox!”
Mokkan the Marlfox sat in the middle of his throne, in the middle of his palace, in the middle of his island, in the middle of the Great Inland Lake, in the middle of the land. Mokkan had it all slaves, wealth, an army, a palace, etc. And yet, he wanted more! That is why he hired his cousin Randolph -who was a normal fox- to bring him more. Randolph had already brought him many more slaves. And that was why Sunflash was looking for him.
Axtel Sturnclaw, Sunflash the Mace and Skarlath start making their way south towards the Great Inland Lake. As they walk (and fly) they relate to each other their pasts. Skarlath flies ahead to scout out the way and returns just as Axtel has finished his story.
The hawk lands on Sunflash's outstretched arm
“Krahhar! I see vermin up ahead! They have slaves with them too!”
Sunflash takes a tighter grip on his mace. “How far ahead are they?”
Skarlath nods in the direction ahead of them “Just beyond that clearing. They are trying to break into a wood mouse family's home.”
Axtel and Sunflash look at each other. “Right” says the badger. “Here is what we do...”
Randolph and his score of river rat slavers pound on the door of the wood mouse's home.
“Hurry up!” yells the fox. “Lord Mokkan says to be back at the island before nightfall.” Break the door down!”
Just then a shout is heard across the clearing.
Sunflash storms in from the north side of the clearing, swinging his mace. Skarlath drops down out of the sky like a lightning bolt, and latches his talons in the face of a rat. Axtel comes running from the south, war hammer raised and bellowing his war cry.
“Woohurr! Cum an' meet ee choild o' death, vurmints! Woohurr!”
The terrified vermin scatter, leaving the slaves behind. Most of the vermin get away- except for the few unlucky ones that are caught by Sunflash and Axtel. One of these is Randolph. Axtel ties the fox to a tree with a rope from his pack. The terrified fox stares into the eyes of his three captors.
Sunflash points his huge mace at the vermin “Where were you taking the slaves? Speak!”
The fox can only babble out “H-H-H-High K-K-King M-M-Mokkan t-told us t-t-to b-b-bring them t-t-t-to him!”
“Hurr. Whur be's ee Mokkaner vurmint at?” growls Axtel.
“At t-t-the I-inland L-l-lake. S-s-s-south f-f-from here!” squeaks Randolph. Then, the fox faints like the wimpy vermin he is.
Sunflash shoulders his mace and turns south. “Leave him here” he says to Axtel. We need to find this Mokkan!”
And so, our three heroes set out to find Mokkan, High King of the Marlfoxes.
Arriving at the edge of the lake, the badger and mole decide to build a raft. They have brought along an axe that they had taken from one of the vermin. Using this tool, Axtel chops down twenty or so stout trees, while Sunflash ties them together with some more rope that Axtel had in his pack. Skarlath sits up in a tall tree keeping watch.
Mokkan was in his bed chamber when he received the news that Sunflash and Axtel were preparing to cross the lake.
“Blast!” Mokkan snarls. “The law is catching up with me! I've got to find some way to prevent them from coming here. Let's see.....”
The Marlfox paces back and forth then stops by the window that faces north. Then suddenly he had an idea. Mokkan smiles wickedly and runs out of his bed chamber and down the ramp to tell the water rat captains his plan.
The raft is finally complete. Sunflash and Axtel set sail, with Skarlath flying overhead. The rest of the day passes uneventfully. And as night closes, the three friends bed down, each taking turns at watch.
As morning dawns the next day, Sunflash and Axtel are awakened by Skarlath.
“Kraaahar! We have arrived at the island!”
The badger and the mole look up and, sure enough, there is the isle of the Marlfoxes. They land the raft and climb silently up to the main part of the island. But before they can get there....
Ziiip! Ziiip! Ziip!
Three arrows shoot by like angry wasps, with more following. The badger and mole duck down, and head for cover, with Skarlath joining them. Sitting in a small clump of bushes and hemmed in on all sides, our three heroes try to decide what to do.
“I have an idea.” Sunflash says. “Skarlath, you fly up and try to draw their fire, then Axtel and I will charge out. Break through their ranks and run for it. Can you do that my hawk friend?”
Skarlath nods and shoots up into the air. As some of the water rats shoot at him, Sunflash and Axtel charge out, bellowing their battle cries. The rats unfortunately, had this idea in mind, and before they had gotten twenty paces, the mole and badger have been shot with two arrows each. But if our heroes had made a mistake in their planning, the rats are guilty of the same thing in underestimating the strength and stamina of their foes. For though they have both been hit, Axtel and Sunflash continue on, and break through the ranks of rats, slaying five in the process. The vermin are taken aback that there arrows have little effect, and are paralyzed at first, and by the time they come to their senses, the three travelers are gone!
Mokkan the Marlfox watches the scene below from a high window and grinds his teeth at the incompetence of his army. Having no drawbridge to pull up in front of his castle's entrance, the wily Marlfox sets an ambush for our three heroes.
Sunflash, Skarlath and Axtel crept stealthily up to the castle entrance.
“I don't see any guards set out to oppose us.” says Sunflash.
“I will fly ahead and see if the coast is clear kraahhhar!” says Skarlath.
Skarlath silently flies forward and checks the entrance to the castle. Having looked throughly, he glides back to where the mole and badger are waiting.
“Krahhar! I see vermin waiting in ambush for us.” he whispers.
“Then we'll have to take care of them.” Sunflash growls.
The big badger begins walking towards the entrance, but is stopped by Axtel.
“Hurr. Wait e ur zurr. Oi nows 'ow us'ns can git parst e vermins.”
And with that the mole immediately begins to dig down into the ground, disappearing from the badger's view. A short time later, the mole's head appears.
“Hurr. Ere be's moi plran. Oi dug under e vurmints so's thart wen Oi comes oot of e tunnel oi'll be behind um. Then oi'll distract e vermins so's e can cum thru e door and give um billie-o too.”
Sunflash nods. “An excellent plan friend!”
Axtel beams, and then disappears once again.
Sunflash stands ready, and soon, he hears the mole's warcry, and the sounds of surprised vermin. Bellowing his own battlecry, Sunflash charges in knocking down any rat his mace comes in contact with. Very soon it's all over. Sunflash and Axtel stand breathing heavily and deciding which way to go from there.
Skarlath flies towards one of the ramps.
“Krahhar! Let us try this one!”
The mole and badger follow. Up and up they climb, until, they are standing outside of Mokkan's chamber. Signaling the mole and hawk to be silent, Sunflash slowly opens the door and peers inside. Seeing no beast he motions the other two to follow him. As soon as he Axtel, and Skarlath come inside, a large iron cage falls down upon them, and Mokkan, High King of Marlfoxes steps out from behind a curtain.
“Ahh. I see you have fallen into one of my traps. Excellent!”
“Release us now!” Sunflash roars.
Mokkan chuckles. “And why should I? You would only attack me.”
“Oi heard thrat e wuz slain fosker. Ow did e survoive?” asked Axtel.
Mokkan looks disdainfully at Axtel. “Moles. Never could learn to speak right. I guess that they're just too stupid.”
Axtel growls. “Hurr! Let oi oot of e cage an' oi'll show e who be's stupird!”
Mokkan grins evily. “But I'm not going to am I? As to your question, I survived because that wasn't really me! It was my almost identical looking cousin Nakkom (that's Mokkan backwards BTW) that fell into the drink. That is not important though. What is important, is what am I going to do with you three?”
“How about fighting us!?” roars Sunflash. And with that he bends down, grips the bottom of the cage, lifts it up and throws it at the Marlfox. Mokkan dodges out of the way, and then turns to see the badger, hawk and mole coming at him.
“Woohurr! Cum to e death moler! Woohurr!”
Mokkan acts swiftly. As the three heroes come at him, he rolls in between Axtel and Sunflash. Then, pulling out his axe, slices at the mole's footpaws. Axtel goes down with a grunt. Skarlath dives down at Mokkan's face and attacks him with his talons. The Marlfox swipes at the hawk and hits him with the broad side of his axe. Skarlath falls unconscious to the floor. Mokkan turns and faces Sunflash.
“Bring it on badger!” he says.
“Any day fox!” replies Sunflash.
With a roar the two opponents run at each other. As Sunflash comes near, Mokkan sidesteps and slashes at the badger's back as he goes by. Sunflash turns as if nothing had happened. When he does, the Marlfox has disappeared! Bellowing angrily Sunflash roars out.
“Where are you cowardly vermin?!”
“Right here, badger.”
Sunflash turns quickly and swipes at thin air behind him. At the same time Mokkan brings his axe down on Sunflash's back. The wound however, does the opposite of what the fox expected. Instead of weakening the badger, it only enrages Sunflash more. The badger turns and once again, swings at thin air. Mokkan continues toying with Sunflash while remaining unseen. Then as he passes Axtel, the mole -with his ear to the ground- hears him coming and just at the right moment smashes down with his hammer on the Marlfox's footpaw. Mokkan screeches in pain and is immediately visible again. Sunflash turns and charges towards the Marlfox, Axtel doing the same on the other side. As the two get within range, Mokkan leaps up and does a butterfly kick, knocking down Axtel. But when he kicks off of Sunflash, Mokkan falls to the ground, unable to knock down the big badger. Sunflash steps onto the Marlfox's axe paw, thus forcing Mokkan to let it go. The badger then picks up the fox and says
“I brought it on vermin!”
Join us next week for.... Deyna and Triss!!!