Spoiler Warning!!!!!! If you have not read Mattimeo and Pearls of Lutra then do NOT read this fan fic.!!!!!!! (You can if you want to, but don't blame me if you read one of those books and it gets spoiled for you!!!!)
Book 1 An Emperor is Born
Out on the Western Sea under a full moonlit sky a ship sailed northward. On deck a searat stood dozing, his paws resting on the tiller handle. Down below the crew lay asleep in their bunks, some snoring, others muttering in their sleep, and below them were the slave galleys with squirrels, mice, hedgehogs, voles and otters chained to oars slumbering fitfully some whining and whimpering in their dreams. Only two slaves were not asleep, one an otter and the other a mouse. They were conveniently chained to an oar together so that they could talk with each other. Both beasts were ragged and thin but strong. They were conversing together in whispers.
“We have to figure out something to get off this ship” said the mouse.
“I know, I know Cobel. Just let me think” replied the otter
Cobel watched his friend closely as the otter sat pondering their situation.
Just then they heard a sound from above, and a horn was blown.
The mouse sighed and sat up straight. “Well Derrriack another day of rowing.” He gritted his teeth, “But it will be one of the last.”
“Aye mate.” Derriack agreed. “It will be at that.”
Scuvro the stoat slave driver came down below deck, swinging his whip and barking out orders.
“All right ya lazy swabs, I want to see you rowing till your paws have blisters on top of blisters, ya idle layabouts! Bend your backs and heave ya filthy scum!”
Derriack glared up at Scuvro “Big talk for a small creature.”
Scuvro glared back. He was very small for a stoat and the otter and mouse teased him about it as often as they could. He didn't dare whip them though. Last time he did Derriack had gouged out his eye with the end of the oar. Now the stoat wore an eye patch over it, along with his stained corsair tunic and belt. The only weapon he carried other then his whip was a dagger thrust into his belt.
Scuvro knew he couldn't do much to the otter so he went along to the next two slaves and whipped out at them. Cobel clenched his paws into fists and ground his teeth audibly. “Some day I'll send that stoat to were all his kind belong. The bullying scum!”
Derriack nodded “Aye his time will come. But we can't do anything unless we're free. So we need to make a plan.”
The two slaves were lost in their thoughts of escape, as they rowed the ship along.
Up on deck in the captains quarters stood an old female searat and the captain of the ship, a tall handsome looking pine marten. He was brown with a creamy yellow throat and ears he wore the traditional corsair silks and satins as well as a creamy white belt. Strapped to his belt were three weapons. Two scimitars one with a gold hilt studded with emeralds. The other with a silver hilt studded rubies. The other weapon he carried was a silver bladed dagger with blue sapphires on the hilt. On a bed in the cabin lay his mate. She was breathing heavily and gasping. The old rat was holding something in her paws which she turned and handed to the male pine marten.
“Here Captain, is your son.” she said.
Captain Udrack Martes stared down at his son, who stared right back without blinking.
Udrack laughed. “Ha Ha! We'll make this one into a hypnotizer yet! He doesn't even blink when he stares back at you.”
He reached down his paw and the baby pine marten bit it. Udrack laughed again.
“He will be a vicious killer when he's older. See how he bit my paw and drew blood? I tell you he's a pine marten born.”
He handed the baby back to the rat. She looked down at the tiny pine marten starting to drift off to sleep with blood around his mouth, then looked up as the pine marten Captain wiped his paw on a towel sitting on a table.
“What will he be called Captain?” She asked.
Udrack thought a moment then grinned as he said
“Ublaz. He shall be called Ublaz. That is a name that would be fit for even an emperor. Yes, Ublaz it shall be.”
And with that he strode out of the cabin and onto the ship's deck. Leaving behind the female rat holding the baby pine marten with the name of an emperor.
Ublaz didn't stay a baby for long. Soon he was up and about running around the ship with his three friends. Romsca, a female ferret, and Barranca and Conva two stoat brothers. The four young vermin were notorious for getting into mischief. They would do anything to anyone that they felt like pulling pranks on, corsair and slave alike.
Captain Udrack watched as the four sneaked up behind a searat who was repairing some rigging and Barranca poked him in the bottom with his small sabre. The rat whose name was Bilgepaw, yelled and jumped straight into the air. The four miscreants ran away laughing and snickering. Udrack smiled to himself, "Those four will make top mark corsairs one day. Today poking with swords, tomorrow slicing and stabbing! Hahahaha!" he laughed.
"Come here son!" Udrack called to Ublaz.
Ublaz turned to his companions and said "I'll be right back. Don't do anything fun while I'm gone!" And with that he walked over to were his father was waiting.
"Come along Ublaz" said Udrack. "It is time for your lesson."
The two pine martin's went into the Captain's cabin. Ublaz's mother Vylaga Martes was in there drinking wine and eating a roasted fish.
Udrack went over into the corner and brought out a box filled with water. He placed it on the floor of the cabin and stood back. A long slithering creature came out of the box and sat staring at Ublaz. The young pine marten stared back at it. Udrack sipped from a wine glass his mate handed him and said to his son.
"Ublaz remember what you are supposed to do. Concentrate all your hypnosis powers on the coral snake, and don't forgetto sway from side to side and say the chant."
Ublaz stared at the snake harder and began chating.
"Golden guardian of my wealth,
Hear me now, be still,
Deathly fang and coiling stealth,
Bend unto my will."
The snake closed it's eyes and began to sink slowly to the floor.
Ublaz turned and looked at his father
"Father, look! I'm doing it!" he shouted.
At the moment Ublaz took his eyes from the snake, it reared up and hissed and prepared to strike. Udrack calmly set down his wine glass and stepped in front of his son, he stared right at the snake and he began to sway and chat the lines that Ublaz had chanted before. The snake stopped in mid strike and began to sway from side to side as well. Ublaz watched on amazed at his father's skill. Finally after awhile the snake sank down and closed it's eyes and mouth. Udrack stroked it's head and returned to his place next to the table. Vylaga handed him back the glass and said
"You have not lost your touch at all dear. You are still the best hypnotizer ever!"
Captain Udrack smiled "You are not so bad yourself Vylaga!"
His mate smiled "Yes, as those fool wildcat rulers down south learned. They could not boss us around anymore."
Udrack smiled evilly too "Your right. To bad they "fell" out the window and into the sea!"
Both pine marten's laughed at this. Then Udrack spoke to Ublaz.
"Remember son, never take your eyes off of your victim, you lose the hypnoses spell when you do. Having hypnosis is a very powerful thing, use it to your advantage. All pine marten's have this power but not all of them have the will power to use it. Master it, and one day you will be a very powerful beast. Now go and play again."
Ublaz nodded and left the room, remembering this valuable lesson he had learned. His father's words came back to him.
"Master it, and one day you will be a powerful beast."
"I will master it" he told himself. "If it takes forever I will master the hypnosis power!"
A few seasons later, after careful planning at night and rowing by day, Darriack and Cobel had finally hit on an escape plan. It was risky, but they knew they had to pull it off. If not for them but for the other slaves.
One day they put the first part of their plan into action. While Scuvro was walking past their bench yelling out insults and orders at the slaves, Darriack suddenly let go of the oar and doubled up in pain yelling,
“Oh ow!!! Please help me sir! My whole body aches form rowing this oar, and I think I have a stomach cramp too! Oooooh! Please sir let me have a rest!!”
Scuvro seeing that the beast who he feared the most was helpless, broke into an evil laugh, and, grinning began berating and whipping the otter.
“Yew slabby-pawed lazy layabout!! I'll give ya a rest that'll last forever if ya don't start rowing!!!!”
Darriack grabbed at the stoat's tunic and pleaded.
“Oh please don't whip me sir! Please give me a rest! I beg of you!! Your a kind creature please!!!!”
Scuvro tried to wrench himself from the otter's grasp screaming and whiping him harder.
“Get your filthy paws off o' me!!!”
While this was going on Cobel reached across as far as his chains would let him and plucked the dagger silently out of the stoat slave master's belt. He then strained as much as he could against the chains and pulled the end of the whip back hard, right when Scuvro was lashing it down on Darriack. The stoat fell backwards and landed with a thump on the floor, much to the amusement of the oar slaves, who laughed trying to keep silent.
Scuvro immediately jumped up and began laying about him with his whip roaring
“Shut that cackling up and start rowing!!!! Or I'll flay yore mangy hides to ribbons!!”
After Scuvro had gone farther down the line Cobel turned to Darriack and asked
“Are you alright Darr? He didn't hurt you that bad did he?”
The otter sat up and shook his head.
“No Cobe it wasn't that bad. I'm just glad the plan worked. By the way mate, did you get that dagger of his?”
Cobel nodded showing his friend the blade.
“Yes I did. This is going to be the little tool that will gain us our freedom!”
Ublaz had grown quickly in the past seasons going from a little trouble making vermin, to a big trouble making vermin. The pine marten had become an expert at both hypnosis, and sword play. Having armed himself with a saber, and could draw rings around anyone on the ship. Anyone except his father.
Udrack Martes watched his son's growth in seasons and in skill with both pride and anxiety, knowing that Ublaz would at some point want to challenge him for Captaincy of The Coral Snake. As Udrack was watching his son win yet another match against his friend Barranca, the lookout up in the crows-nest of the ship- a searat named Ripear- shouted out
“There's a large mountain to starboard Captain!”
Udrack gazed out across the sea towards a dormant volcano sticking up into the sky. He smiled to himself. Then shouted up at the lookout
“Keep up there until we get closer. Then report to me.”
He then turned and went down the stairs into the cabin, where Vylaga was sipping some wine and eating a roast fish. She pushed another plate and goblet over to her mate as he sat down opposite her.
“I heard the lookout shouting something. What was it?” she inquired.
Udrack drank a mouthful of wine and then answered
“Ripear has spied the mountain of Salamandastron in the distance.”
Vylaga's eyes lit up greedily at the sound of the legendary mountains name.
“The same one that holds the vast treasure of the badgers?” she asked.
Udrack ate some of the fish as he answered
"Yes the very same one. The one that we have been sailing north for all these seasons.”
Vylaga took another sip of wine and sank back into the satin pillows that were behind her.
“So my dear, what is your plan of how to get this fortune?”
Udrack finished off his wine and refilled his goblet from the bottle.
“I don't know have you any suggestions?”
Vylaga closed her eyes and put her head back on the pillows as she stroked her white furred neck with her free paw.
“Yes, I might have an idea or two.” she said.
Udrack leaned forward.
“What is it?” he asked.
Vylaga smiled and related to her mate her plan to get inside of Salamandastron.
Ublaz had once again defeated all of his three friends. At the same time. The young pine marten's lightning quick reflexes and deadliness with a blade was how he won every fight. He stood parrying, thrusting, slicing and stabbing at thin air, chuckling the whole time
“Just wait until my dear father sees this. His son can best anybeast on this ship.”
Barranca, Conva and Romsca sat on the deck watching their friend practice.
“Ahhh, your dear ol' daddy doesn't care what your doin'. All he cares about is captain' the ship, and looking for that old mountain. He ain't watchin' you.” Barranca scoffed.
Ublaz delivered a slice to his “opponent's” left leg as he replied.
“On the contrary my friend. I have seen my “dear ol' daddy” as you put it watching me from the doorway of his cabin before. I have that one worried I can tell.”
Conva scratched his head as he wondered aloud
“Why would 'e be worried?”
Ublaz finished off his “opponent” with a quick thrust to the heart and a slice to the neck.
“Because Conva, my father knows that I can take over the ship one day if he's not careful.”
Romsca nodded and then asked as Ublaz sat down among them.
“So, when are you going to execute this “take over” of your's?”
Ublaz smiled as he patted his friend's back.
“All in good time Romsca. All in good time. One of these days my father will be off his guard and distracted by something and thats when I'll strike.”
That night down below on the slave deck. Darriack and Cobel worked feverishly on their chains with the dagger, knowing they had to escape soon.
The next night the Coral Snake docked a few miles down the coast from Salamandastron- and that's when Darriack and Cobel made their move. Swiftly and silently they dropped their chains and started down the line of oarslaves towards the door. They knew that they could not free the rest of their comrades right now, but someday, they vowed they would. Slipping past the sleeping form of Scuvro the two escapees went out onto the deck. All was still and silent, except for the lookouts snores.
“Sleepin' on duty huh?” Darriack chuckled “well more the better for us.”
“Shhhh!” Cobel cautioned “Over there.”
The mouse pointed to the small lifeboat tied to the side of the ship. The otter and mouse sneaked over and began untying it.
“Wouldn't this make to much noise?” inquired the otter.
“Well, how else are we going to get away?” Cobel whispered back.
“We could jump over the side” grinned Darriack.
“This is no time for jokes!” gritted the mouse as he lowered the rope.
It was at that moment when things started to go wrong. The rope suddenly slipped out of Darriack's paws and the boat landed with a loud splash into the water. The rat on lookout woke up and, seeing the two escaped slaves down below yelled an alarm.
“Escaped slaves!! Escaped slaves!! Catch them!!”
Corsair's tumbled out of their bunks from below deck and immediately charged toward the two friends. Udrack swung open his cabin door yelling
“What's going on here?!”
Cobel looked at Darriack
“I guess we're going to take a swim after all.”
Both the otter and the mouse leaped overboard and vanished under water, amid shouts and curses from the ship's crew above. Darriack because he was a sea otter soon surfaced and started looking around for Cobel.
“Cobel? Cobel where are you?” he shouted.
The otter dived back under the water, and not seeing his friend he went back up to the surface. He looked around more then he saw his mouse friend surface a few feet away from himself, spluttering and coughing Cobel tried his best to stay afloat.
Darriack started swimming towards him shouting
“Hang on mate! I'm coming!”
The otter dove down and came up underneath his friend.
“Hang onto my back Cobe” he said.
The mouse grabbed onto the back of the otter and Darriack started off.
“The sooner we get away from the ship the better” the otter said. Then as if suddenly remembering he said
“Cobel, I just thought. We're free!”
Cobel thought a moment and then realization dawned on him too.
“Your right Darr! We are free!!”
The two friends laughed out loud as Darriack swam them to shore.
On the shores of the Western sea stood Salamandastron, mountain of the fire lizard, domain of the Long Patrol hares and Badger Rulers. The Badger Lord at the time was none other then Orlando the Axe, Lord of the Western Plain-and now, of Salamandastron. Standing at his forge deep in the center of the mountain's heart he pounded away with his hammer at a lump of metal that was to become a sabre. Mentally he went over the steps to making a weapon such as this. As soon as he flattened it out he would begin annealing it, making it easy to grind into shape. Then he would grind it to work out the edge, and point of the sword. Next he would harden it, heating it to a high temperature, then placing it in his quenching trough. Then he would temper it, heating a quenching again-but at at a much lower temperature. This was the stage where the skill of the swordsmith was invaluable. Then the sword itself will be complete, now he would add the additional parts-such as the pommel and the hilt. Then the sword would be ready for Long Patrol use.
A knock on the door interrupted his thoughts.
“Come in” Orlando announced in a gruff voice.
In stepped a dashing hare officer who sported a green military jacket, and a sabre strapped to his belt.
Orlando set down his hammer and turned towards the hare.
“Ah, Captain I've been expecting you. Make your report sharpish.”
The hare stepped forward, pulled out his sabre with a flourish, and saluted with it, saying
“Sah. The runner you sent out has returned. He reported his findings to me sah. He says that there's a large corsair ship a few miles up the coast, says it doesn't look to friendly sah. End of report sah.”
With another flourish the hare Captain returned his sabre to it's scabbard, stepped back a pace, and waited for Orlando to speak.
“Thank you Captain Sabreflash” he said. “Some scouts that were sent out yesterday on their usual rounds spotted the ship from afar off. So I sent a runner to investigate. Hmmmm, a corsair vessel you say? Well that can only mean trouble, because that's what corsair's are.” Orlando's voice became higher “The murdering, filthy, cowardly scum! We'll teach them a lesson if they plan on coming up this way! Captain tell the other officers to have the Patrol ready, in case there's an attack somewhere around here, or on Salamandastron itself. Dismissed!”
The hare saluted once more then pivoted smartly, and stepped out of the door.
Orlando went back to his work growling
“Those vermin won't cause any problems while I'm around!”
He turned suddenly and, hanging up his apron, he stepped out of the forge room and went down a hall to his own chamber. Opening the door, he stepped inside. There hanging on the wall, was his famed weapon- the Axe of the Western Plain. He took it down off of it's wall pegs and swung it expertly. Though Orlando was well into his late seasons, there was still no beast alive who could swing an axe like he could. After a few more experimental swings he walked over to the window that opened a view to the west. The badger, still with his axe in his right paw, stood staring off to south, hoping to catch a glimpse of the corsair ship.
“Mark my words whoever you are on that ship, if you even try to set foot on this shore, you will die! So says Orlando the Axe, Badger Lord of Salamandastron!”
Orlando turned from the window and started walking back to his forge, still carrying his great axe. And hoping that the vermin would come to Salamandastron.
Darriack and Cobel had finally reached shore. It had not taken them very long to get there, thanks to the sea otter's skillful swimming. But even otters can get tired swimming, and Darriack was, owing to the fact that he had carried Cobel on his back the whole way. While his friend rested, the mouse went and scouted out the land. They were in a marshy, wet area with a few small hills around. When Cobel returned, his friend was up and about.
“How ya feelin' mate?” asked the mouse.
“Never better!” replied Darriack.
Cobel turned and indicated the way he had come back from
“I've been doin' a little scoutn' around, and most of it's swampy, soft ground to the east and south. I think our best bet is to head north, towards that tall mountain.”
The mouse pointed and Darriack turned and saw the mountain.
“Aye. I believe that that's what they call Salamandastron, I heard some of the crew talking about it. I supposedly filled with treasure that's protected by hares and badgers.”
Cobel started walking off to the north
“Well come on then mate. Badgers and hares are friendly. If we can get to this Sala-whatjamacalit place then we might be able to find a place to rest safe from those corsairs.”
Darriack caught up with his friend
“Do you think that they'll come after us?” he asked.
Cobel shook his head
“Who? The corsair vermin? Nah! Ol' Cap'n Udrack has other things on his mind then a couple of runaway slaves; especially when there's only two of them.”
The otter agreed, and the two friends fell silent as they trekked steadily northward, towards the tall mountain looming up before them.
Cobel did not know it but at that moment, “Ol' Cap'n Udrack” did have other things on his mind then a couple of runaway slaves. Mainly the very mountain those slaves were going to; Salamandastron. After his mate had related to him her plan to conquer the legendary fortress, Udrack and his crew had been sailing towards it with all speed-though not so close to the shore that they could be spotted easily.
Ublaz watched his father at the stern, gazing out at the mountain before him. The young pine marten smiled. He had plans as well when they got to Salamandastron. Evil plans.
It was about mid-day, and the sun beat down on the otter and mouse trotting doggedly on towards the north. Unknown to the two friends though, they were being followed by over two score toads. When Darriack and Cobel stopped for the night, the toads waited for them to fall asleep. Then they crept up on the sleeping friends, holding nets and tridents with which they would snag there victims. Unknown to the ugly amphibians however, Cobel had spotted them earlier in the day and had warned his sea otter friend. So Darriack and Cobel feigned sleep, while watching the toads creep towards them. Cobel's mouth was next to Darriack's ear as he whispered
The toads moved closer.
The toads were now almost on top of them.
As the two friends jumped up Cobel grabbed a rock and smashed it down on a toads head to his right. Darriack swung with his heavy rudder catching two of the amphibians full in the face. The mouse and otter started madly fighting their way out of the toad ranks-who were taken aback at this ferocious assault, when they broke free and started running north. The toads hopped after them and one of them blew on a shell making a horn-like noise. Instantly as the friends mounted a sand dune, there appeared in front of them a score of toads, with tridents pointed outwards. The otter and mouse stopped, menaced by the toad's weapons. The toads chasing them hopped up, and encircled them, tridents at the ready. They were completely surrounded!