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URGENT UPDATE- This fanfic is now on hold. Arrow is so busy with school she rarely has time to write, and my life just got uber busy. There will be no more updates for awhile. However, the next time we get a chance, the next update that is posted will finish Book One.
This is co-written by Arrowtail and Windflin Wildbrush. The update list is on Windflin's user page. We decided to dedicate this to all the evil warlords and ladys, along with the heroes and heroines that defeated them! (but that doesn't mean that's how this story turns out! Mwahaha!) And a big thanks to all the users who helped come up with names. And thanks to Brockfang, our beta. Now stop reading this and move on the the story!!!!! Windflin Wildbrush Evil foxmaid on the loose! 21:47, January 28, 2010 (UTC)
- Memories long gone, lives now torn, battles soon fought...
- Two maids will make choices that will determine the fate of many others.
- A fox of humble origin, driven by revenge.
- A squirrel of small proportions, driven by love for her friends.
- Who will make the ultimate sacrifice?
- The tale begins...
Book One: Memories Long Gone
- “Mama, wa’cher bee’s doin’?”
- “Arrowtail, please don’t pull on my apron strings, I’m making strawberry trifle.”
- “When’s Fa’ver gonna get back?”
- “In a few minutes, Arrow. Now why don’t you go wait for your father outside?”
- “Okay, Mama.”
Arrowtail ran outside of the tent she shared with her parents. While she waited, she drew little pictures in the snow with a twig.
- She was in the middle of drawing a picture of the strawberry trifle her mother was making when her father’s strong voice called, “Arrow! Come ‘ere and give your daddy a big hug!”
Arrowtail leaped up with a squeal and ran to her father who scooped her up and set her on his broad shoulders. He walked back to the hut, Arrowtail bouncing on his shoulders. Hildy smiled as her mate swung their daughter down off his shoulders and started tickling her.
- Arrowtail laughed, "Hahaheeheehahee, s-stopit... fav'...er, stopit!"
He obliged and set her down. The small family sat down at the table in the center of the tent.
- "Ohh, I forgot, Abbess Sarlera gave me a surprise for you two, and I left it in my bag. Just be a second."
- "Well, hurry up Trig, super'll get cold."
The burly male squirrel walked through the tent flaps. Seconds later, Arrow and her mother heard a yell.
- "Foxes, Hildy! take Arrow and... uhhggh."
Hlidy grabbed Arrow and practically thew her out the flap on the back of the tent.
- She yelled after her, "Run as fast as you can, and don't let the foxes see you!"
With that Arrowtail's mother grabbed one of the staves holding up the back of the tent and ran back to help her mate. Arrow sat stunned, until the yells of her parents and the foxes galvanized her into action. She ran into the trees and climbed high into an oak. There she looked back, unable to peel herself away from the bloody sight. There she sat, horror-struck, watching, as the vermin hacked away at her parents. Once again brought back to reality by the laughter of the foxes as they hacked at her parents, Arrowtail took off, trying to get as far away as she could from the dreadful place. Being merely a dibbun, she misjudged a jump as she speed through the trees. She fell to the ground with a thump, and the last thing she saw before her vision became cloudy was a large brawny otter standing over her.
A young fox wandered through the brush in the cool winter air, her tracks leaving stitches in the blanket of snow that covered the ground. She gathered the last of her herbs and turned back, headed towards the clearing where she and her family were camped. Once there, she cleared the snow off of a patch of ground and started a fire.Once it was blazing she walked inside the makeshift hut, where she kept all of her healer's supplies. After emptying the herb pouch, she started a pot of soup. The black vixen was just putting the pot over the fire when she heard shouts and laughter coming from the woods. She looked up to see her mate, son and four others of their band. She gasped. As they drew closer to the fire she could see, and smell, the blood splattered over all six. Her mate, a tawny colored fox with green eyes stepped forward.
- "Wat's so intrstin' tha' yur sandin thur gapin at?" he laughed.
- "You know perfectly well!" she stood before him, tears blossoming in her beautiful brown eyes, "Who was it this time? Another family of helpless voles? Why do you all go out and murder and kill like this for no reason?!?! You take helpless beast's live for meer pleasure!"
- He cut in, now snarling, "Why shud it matter ta you what we do? Yur a gud fur nothin' healer! Foxes don't heal! It ain't in our nature! We rob fur our livin', not heal! And if ya don't want ta stay wi' us, then ya can jus' go, but Windflin and Finarn stay!"
- "But Windflin's only three seasons! I can't just leave her and you know it!"
- "Well then, I guess yur stayin' too," he turned and strutted off, all but one of the foxes following him off towards the nearby creek.
The last one lingered, green eyes staring at his mother. Tears still glistening, she stared back until he broke the contact and ran off the catch up with the rest of the foxes, black fur blending into the shadows of the trees. She turned and ran back into the hut, sobbing.
"Ryter, get this liddle squirrel to the abbey. The rest 'o you, come wid me. Somethin' scared her, and we're gonna find out what, so keep your eyes peeled, mates!" Skipper bounded off with his otter crew following him. Ryter headed in the opposite direction carrying Arrowtail, her head lolling and tail waving in the cold winter breeze, as she was carried off.
Skip halted as a fallen tent came into view. Cautiously, he walked forward, sling and dagger ready. The otter crew jumped as they heard him gasp. He slowly turned to look over his shoulder, his face reflecting what he had seen. One of the otters, a sturdy female named Wisper, walked forward.
- "Skip? Wot's the matter?"
She walked forward, following her father as he quietly walked to the center of the ravaged camp. The rest of the crew followed, a myriad of gasps and exclamations bursting forth.
- "Wot in seasons name happened?"
- "No wonder that liddle squirrel fain'ed"
- "Who'd do somethin' like this?!"
Complete scilence enveloped the bloody scene as all the otters stared at Skipper.
- "We need to find out wot happened here. I want everybeast to stand still. Don't go messin' up any tracks. Darlia, Wisper, look for tracks, Bidun, see if there's anythin' inside that tent."
The three otter did as they were bid, the rest staring after them. Not two mintues later Darlia voice rang through the oppressing silence.
- "Skip, over here!"
The chieftain ran over to her. Wisper and Bidun joined them and they conversed quietly for a couple of seconds, then Skip raised his head.
- He gestured for the remaining four otters to join them, "Ahoy mates, we're tracking a band o' foxes, but still don't know 'ow many. Bidun didn't find anythin' eith'r so we still don't know wot happened here, but i think that liddle squirrel's family was murdered. Weapons at th' ready, and head out."
With that they moved of into the woods, Wisper and Darlia tracking, and silence once again envoloping the woodlands.
The fox band sat around the fire, flurries of snow blew around them. Windflin snuggled up with her mother, tawny fur contrasting with her mother's dark coat. They soaked up a watery stew with chunks of bread, trying to warm themselves. The usual banter continued despite the cold weather. The topics ranged from the watery stew, to the "robbing" they had committed earlier, to the fact that one of the younger foxes had wounded himself when they were down at the creek washing. He had fallen into the freezing water and then had twisted his footpaw as he climbed out. The older foxes were enjoying his humiliation as much as he was hating it.
- "D' ya need healer, Redd?"
- "Or ma'be ano'r cold bath?"
- "Haharr! tha's jus' wot he needs bucko!"
- "Aah, shu' up, all 'o ya."
Finarn decided to stuck up for his friend despite the fact that he would probably be the next subject of the jeering. He stood up, pulling the other fox with him. Together they limped off, further away from the fire. There they sat, just staring into the shadows the fire cast. Suddenly Finarn thought he saw something move in the shadows behind his father's back. He whispered to Redd and slipped off into the woods. Silently he stole around, attempting to get behind the point where he saw the movement, his black fur providing him with all the camouflage he needed. He was about to make his move, when all of the sudden loud shouts erupted from the camp. He rushed forward to the edge of the clearing. There he saw a group of otters attacking his family and friends. His mother was running away from the melee, carrying his sister. He ran to her and she threw Windflin, eyes big with terror, into his arms.
- "Take her and run!"
With that she ran back and threw herself into the fight. Finarn hesitated, trying to decide whether to run with Windflin or join the fight. He made his decision to late, and as he turned to run, he felt a heavy blow on the back of his head. He fell heavily into the bloodstained snow, Windflin on top of him, and blacked out.
Finarn woke with a splitting headache. He looked around, dismayed at what he saw. The early morning sun glinted of the red-tinged snow, the bodies of his family and friends laying about. He slowly sat up. trying to remember what had happened. As he stood erect, the memories came flashing back to him. Otters swinging loaded slings and brandishing javelins. His father's laugh cut short by a javelin through his gut. His mother thrusting Windflin into his arms... Windflin! He looked frantically through the bodies. He couldn't find her there so he continued on to the edge of the clearing. He had made his way almost all the way around when he found Redd. Dark brown fur almost black with dried blood. he had a huge gash in his side. Finarn sat there, it felt like they had just been joking about his accident at the brook, and now his friend was no more. Finarn sobbed, not only for his friend but for his family and what had happened last night. He sobbed until he could cry no more. Then he stood up. He would have revenge. Revenge for his lost sister, his dead parents, and his murdered friend. He would have revenge.
Arrowtail was also awakening, but instead of a blood strewn scene, she was greeted by brown-red walls and wooden shelves filled with bottles and bowls of all sorts. She groaned and tried to sit up. As she orientated herself with her surroundings the wooden door opened, it's hinges squeaking, a small mouse walked in.
- "Oh, dear, you shouldn't be sitting up like that, honey! You took quite a spill!"
Arrowtail just stared at her.
- The little mouse bustled forward, "My name is Fayel, I'm the Infirmary Keeper here at Redwall Abbey. What might your name be little one?"
The dibbun squirrel just continued to stare.
- "Oh, well, you've been through quite a lot. I suppose you're just tire. Well, you just lay back down and rest some more. I'll bring you up some supper later, darling."
With the Fayel covered Arrow up, and left the room, closing the door behind her. There Arrowtail lay, not thinking, not feeling, not seeing.
- "Oi! Rej! Cmere, mate!"
A rat, stood, looking at a healer's hut, as the rest of his band caught up with him.
- "Wot yew want Binge? I wuz 'bout ta catch me a big trout, when yew start hollerin' at the..."
The older ferret started as he walked into the clearing. He quickly recovered himself though, and started barking orders at his band.
- "Soget an' Kalzar, see if th'res anythin' worth the takin' in that hut, the rest of yew, check t'ose foxers fer wepons."
A stoat and fox separated and headed for the hut, and the rest of the vermin, a ferret, two rats, a stoat, a fox, and a weasel, examined the ground around the dead foxes for any valuables. The young female fox kicked a black fox's body and gasped.
- "Rej! Lookit 'ere! Dis 'un's still alive!"
The ferret hurried over, and examined the young, tawny colored fox.
- "Aye, she's still breathin'."
- "Well, wot shood I do with 'er?"
- "'Ow shood i know? You found 'er! She yur rispon'ibity, not mine!"
The fox shrugged and picked up the little body. The rest of the vermin completed their search and gathered at the edge of the circle of carnage.
- "Well, wot'd yew find?"
- "I got two cutlasses, an' a sling an' stones."
- "T'ree daggers"
- "A bag 'o watercress, and an' a sack 'o flour."
The replies continued until all had reported. Then the male fox spoke up.
- "Califi an' I decidid ta keep dis little foxer."
Their decision was greeted by raised eyebrows as the band look to their leader for his reaction.
- "Well, as long as yew don' bother none 'o us wi' tha' 'un, i don't care if ya keep 'er, Kalzar. Now grab yer bag an' wepons and we go back ta the riv'r."
The vermin band headed of through the woodlands, taking food, weapons, and a litle fox with them.
Fayel walked down the steps to the Great Hall. A worried frown creased her forehead. She was worried about the young squirrel the otters had brought back from mossflower. She hadn't said a word in the past two days she had been at the abbey, and her eating habits were the same as her vocal ones. The short mouse opened the door and stepped into the Hall. The sounds of the abbeybeasts at dinner greeted her ears as she made her way to the large table. She approached the great chair containing the Abbess of Redwall, and tapped its inhabitant's cloaked arm. Abbess Sarlera turned.
- "Yes, sister? Do you have news on the young squirrel?"
- "Well, yes and no Mother. She hasn't made a sound in the two days she's been here, but she hasn't gotten any worse either. I suppose she has good reason to be in shock, but I'm still worried about her."
- “Hmm, so besides her lack of appetite and vocal abilities she is fine?”
- “Yes, Mother.”
- “Then may I suggest that she be cared for by one of our abbey dwellers? Mayhaps being around other beasts will help her recovery.”
- “I suppose, Mother Abbess. Whoever it is will have to give up much of their time. She will require much attention.”
- “Alright then, I will spread the word. She will have a new family within the next few days.”
- “Thank you mother. Oh, and I almost forgot, Skipper wanted to talk to you.”
- “Thank you Fayel. I will talk to him after breakfast.”
Abbess Sarlera gazed after Fayel as she walked off. She sighed and turned back to the table and her other duties as abbess.
The early morning sun was still coating the Abbey walls with a gold aura as the Abbess and Skipper of Otters walked along the ramparts.
- “You say you know something more about the young squirrel?”
- “Aye, Mother, after we tracked down the foxes I sent my crew back ‘ere. I went back to the place we found ‘er myself. Well, I found somethin’ an’ I thought ya might like ta see it, marm.”
He held up a brown burlap bag. Carefully the otter dumped it contents on the Abbey wall. A flask of old October Ale, an engraved tailring, and a bolt of cloth fell out. The Abbess gasped.
- “That’s the bag I sent with Trig when he visited a couple of days ago!”
- “Aye, marm. I think that lil’ squirrel is Arrowtail, Trig and Hildy’s daughter.”
- “But then that would mean…”
As she realized what Skipper was implying the mouse sank to her knees. A single tear dripped from her eye as she picked up the tailring. She gazed at it and then burst into sobs. Trig and Hildy had been her closest friends through childhood. Losing them was like losing family. Trig had been like a brother and Hildy a sister. They had picked strawberries together, made their first outing into Mossflower with each other, and when Trig and Hildy were married she, as abbess, had united them. Skipper tenderly placed a paw on her shoulder. His touch brought her back from her reminiscing. She stood up, still holding the tailring. She would do everything in her power to insure that Arrowtail was properly taken care of. She certainly owed Trig and Hildy that much.
Mmm, the heat from the fire, the warmth of Mama's fur, the band's loud, but comforting banter. The best way to spend a cold winter night. Windflin's eyes fluttered open, but not to the familiar scene of her dream. Windflin bolted up, glancing in every direction. As far as she could tell she had been laying next to a fire in the lap of a silvery-furred male fox. The fox's bright blue eyes stared at her, as if they could see what she was thinking. The strange eyes were joined by seven other pairs. A ferret, a weasel, a pair of stoats, a pair of rats, and another fox. One of the stoats started cackling.
- "Haharr! Dat 'un looks like she's been skewerd an' set 'or de fire ta cook! Yehe!"
- "Shur' up, Soget! Can' ye see she's scared 'or 'er wits!"
The chocolatey colored vixen began to slide her way over to Windflin. After a couple of minutes of coaxing and crooning, Windy found herself wedges between the two older foxes on a log by the fire.
Over the next hour and a half she was retold her story and thoroughly introduced to the vermin band. Finally, as the fire died down and the others fell asleep, Windflin found herself with thinking room. However, as she lay there, still trying to get a grasp on what had happened, all she could think about was the fact that she had no family. Tears began tracking their way down her cheeks and muzzle. They dropped into the snow leaving tiny pockmarks. She stared at them for a couple of seconds before breaking out into muffled sobs. Her soft cries drifted out of the camp on the calm winter breeze into the deep blackness of Mossflower Woods.
A bank vole was siting alongside a creek witha fishing pole in paw. He was humming a little ditty as he enjoyed the beautiful morning. A few minutes later he had a nice trout over the cooking fire at the entrance to his den. The vole was about to sprinkel watercress and other various plants over the fish when he heard a rustle in the bushes to his right. He stared around for a few minutes before shrugging and turning to continue cooking his meal. The rustling came again this time louder and more vigorious. This time the vole turned and started to walk over to the bushes. A soft whoosh came from directly opposite, and with a sigh and a soft thud, the woodlander fell to the ground, a dagger hilt protruding from his back.
A black fox trotted out of the tree cover toward the steaming trout. As he went, he pulled the dagger from the vole's body and wiped it on the grass. He then proceeded to the fish, using the dagger to spear the hot pieces. After he had eaten his fill, the fox trotted over to the bushes. There he untied a rpoe from the branches and looped it around his waist. Finally, he wiped all traces of footprints and any other tracks from the site, then trotted off, green eyes glinting in the sunlight.
- "Arrowtail, I know it's quite soon after losing your parents, but I can't keep you in the Infirmary any longer. I need the space. Abbess Sarlera has arranged for you to be adopted by Thridge, the gatekeeper. She has a son your age, and I think you'll like it there."
Fayel was greeted with a blank stare. She sighed. Well, at least she hasn't all out protested. She leaned down and picked up the sack containing Arrow's things. There wasn't al lot. A couple of Tunics, a small carving of her parents, and the tailring from the bag found at the campsite. The carving had been Sarlera's but she had decided to pass it on to the dibbun squirrel, along with the tailring.
The mouse and squirrel walked slowly down the steps to the Great Hall. As they passed the tapestry of Martin the Warrior, Arrowtail paused and looked up at the kind face of the mouse warrior. From the first time since her parents had died, she smiled.