A young otter stood in the Great Hall of Redwall Abbey. The moonlight fell on her shoulder, showing that she glowed. The otter had long-since run her seasons. The only reason she was here was because of Martin the Warrior.
Not that she had wanted to come to visit the great Abbey. The spirits from the Dark Forest sent her there. No, Euthudia Vergu the Otter most certainly hadn't come of her own accord.
But Lord Brocktree from Salamandastron had “required her to complete this urgent mission”. Lord Stonepaw too had encouraged her. Finally, Euthudia had given in to the badger lord's pleas.
So here she was, waiting for Martin to come. The warrior was sent to get Martin, Mattimeo the Warrior's son. There was a movement behind her. Euthidia turned, expecting it to be Martin and Martin, but there was a large squirrel there.
“Whoooo aare yyyou?” asked the squirrel, trembling.
Euthidia took a step towards the squirrel. “I am Euthidia Vergu the Otter. Who are you?”
“I am Lutria of Redwall. What are you doing in our Great Hall? And why do you look like a spirit?”
Euthidia Vergu laughed, the sound ringing off the walls and high ceiling. “I am a spirit. I was sent here to guard Martin the Warrior. He must find Martin, son of Mattimeo.”
Lutria frowned. “Mmm, hmm, he's here. But why?”
“Why do you need Martin? And, uh,” here, the squirrel looked at her feet bashfully, “Why don't you talk in rhyme like the other spirits?”
“One at a time, Lutria! Martin is the son of a Redwall Warrior; he must complete a very important mission. I don't speak in rhyme because, number one, you weren't supposed to see me, and number two, there's nothing to warn you against. Does that cover that?” Euthidia asked.
Shamefaced, Euthidia the Otter asked the young squirrel, “Um, Lutria, can you write?”
The otter smiled. “Good, good. That solves a lot of problems. I need you to write a note to the Father Abbott that Martin and Lutria have gone with Euthidia Vergu the Warrior. He'll know me, don't worry about that.”
Lutria gave a huge grin and nodded. “Aye, thanks, Euthidia the Otter Warrior!”
Chrustiain the Weasel took a quiver of arrows. Looking down, he was on top of a deep cliff. The weasel watched a corsiar ship come into the island harbor. Blowing quickly on his arrow, he got one spark.
A passing stoat sniggered. “Hmph, Chrustiain! Best you can do, snotface?”
Chrustiain carefully began loading the arrow onto his bow. “I'd like to see you do better, Gringle!”
Gringle the stoat smirked openly. “Yes, your Highness!”
Within moments, Chrustiain was on Grindle. His arrowpoint dug into the traitor stoat's chest.
Chrustiain leaned closer, his arrow pointed at Grindle's throat. “You...will...call...me...Chrustiain...! Is... that...clear...?”
Grindle nodded sagely. “Yyeesss, yyyo- uh, that is, Chrustiain!”
Smiling evilly, Chrustiain blew on his arrow again. He launched it, with the fire on it's tip whitstling, and watched it as it landed on the ship coming into the island harbor.
Grindle made a noise behind Chrustiain. The weasel turned, just in time to see a blur, and suddenly, Grindle had poked him with his sword. Smiling, the stoat advanced. “So now what, your Highness? Scared?”
Quickly, Grindle poked Chrustiain's arm. “Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!”
Letting out a scream of agony, Chrustiain tumbled over to the edge of the cliff.
Grindle pulled him close. “Tell the Guardians that the Merciless One sent you, Chrustiain!” And Grindle the Merciless One dropped Chrustiain, relishing his screams, and the explosion of curses from the harbor below.
Grindle was now Lord of the High Harbor. Nobeast could stand against him and live!
Lutria and Martin lumbered along the path, Lutria with the food pack. Martin and Euthudia walked above them, watching them carefully. Martin (the live one) had his sword. The spirit Martin now called himself Spiritmartin to avoid confusion.
They had gotten a late start because Martin had accidentally found the Cavern Hole instead of the dormitories, and made so much noise that finally the Abbott had woken up.
Euthudia had told him about Martin's quest, and how Lutria had been so friendly to her, she had allowed the young squirrel to come. After hearing all, the Abbott had helped Spiritmartin find the dormitories, but all of this delayed their departure.
Suddenly, Lutria and Martin stopped, jerking Euthudia out of her thoughts. “Hoi! What'd'ya stop for?” Spiritmartin asked.
Lutria looked up at him. “Are you awake? Can't you see that the River Moss is in front of us?”
Euthudia looked down. Lutria was right. The River Moss ran quickly and quietly in front of them, as wide as a fallen tree.
Martin looked sideways at Lutria. “Well, what do we do?”
Euthudia sighed. “I'm an otter. Perhaps I can swim you across?”
Lutria looked dubious. “But you're a spirit!”
Spiritmartin snorted. “And you're a treeflyer!”
Martin walked firmly in front of the two. “Lutria, if you object to Euthudia's suggestion, then what is yours?”
Lutria lowered her eyes. Muttering low, she replied, “Okay, fine, but I don't want to be drowned by some spirit warrior...” She got no farther.
Spiritmartin grabbed her and stared straight into her eyes. “Look, squirrel, Euthudia wasn't just some warrior- she'll tell you tonight. Now, will you quit makin' things difficult! Don't forget, you don't have to come. We'll...”
Euthudia put a silver paw on her friend's back. “Calm down, Martin. Listen, Lutria's never been away from Redwall before. The only warrior she's seen have been Mattimeo and Matthias before he died. She is an exceedingly brave squirrel, and cautious too, which will doubtlessly serve us well in the future. She is only making sure that she won't get injured. We'll tell her our tales, though obviously she's heard yours, and she'll tell us hers.”
Spiritmartin smiled at the otter warrior. “Fine, Euthudia. You leave me no choice. However, Lutria may be right...”
Euthudia laughed. “So we'll take no chances.” she finished. Then she stood up. “Martin, no, the other Martin, you get wood for a raft. Lutria, break out the breakfast!”
Grindle was not a name fit for a leader. He would have to pick another. The stoat sat in his tent, thinking, for about a week. Then he had it.
The stoat called his Captain, Agofren, into his tent. “Master?” He asked.
Grindle grinned. “Cap'n Agofren, what is my name?”
Agofren, puzzled, answered, “Master Grindle, Master!”
Grindle shook his head. “Nah, my name's Rangfarl. Remember?”
Agofren could not, but he pretended that he could. “Oh, yes! I remember! You changed it right after his Highness Chrustiain died.”
The newly re-named Rangfarl whipped out his knife. He licked it carefully. “Now, Agofren, go announce to the army that Rangfarl will bring plunder and riches if followed completely loyally. You are dismissed!”
Agofren began shaking. He had a good reputation in the horde. He did not want to ruin it. “Bbbuutt...Mmassttterrr...”
Rangfarl's knife was immediately at Agofren's throat. “Do you dare to question an order?”
Agofren threw caution to the wind. “I don't want to ruin my good reputation in the Horde!”
Rangfarl smiled. It was not a pretty sight. “Fine, Agofren. You are now exiled from my Horde. You are no longer a Captain. Do me one last favor. Send Deathstorm in to me.”
Agofren bowed hs head. “So be it, Master.”
He left Rangfarl's tent, never to return again. Soon, a fox came in.
“Lord, Agofren has left, never to return.” Deathstorm reported.
Rangfarl nodded. “You are now a captain. You are loyal to me, I hope?”
“Lord, I am yours at death.” Captain Deathstorm promised.
Rangfarl smiled again. “Good, I am glad. Go now, and announce to the Horde that I am Rangfarl the Merciless One! You are my Captain, I now trust your judgement completely. You are dissmissed.
Rangfarl's Horde needed some organizing. This was the first thing that Rangfarl noticed. There were rats and stoats, foxes and weasels, but no real organization. Apart from Deathstorm and a stoat named Halockfur, there were no Captains.
Rangfarl knew that there were also talks of mutiny and desertion. Halockfur, one of the less brighter Horde members, thought that Rangfarl should create armour out of the bones of his slain victims.
Deathstorm dissmissed the idea as soon as it was suggested, but Rangfarl gave it come thought. Maybe it wasn't too bad, he thought.
ker than the rest, Rangfarl called Halockfur into his tent.
“Halockfur, I like your idea. Also, I am promoting you to Major. Now, don't tell anybeast this, but Deathstorm is planning to kill you. Aye, sad, 'tisn't it, yore mate deserting you? I am sorry, aye, truly sorry. But the only way to prevent yore death is to kill Deathstorm. Why don't ye go after 'im tonight, while he's sweeping?”
Nodding briefly, Halockfur left the tent. Behind him, Rangfarl smiled evilly. Two potintial mutinious beasts gone in one sweep! Even if they didn't both die tonight, and one of them would, Rangfarl would be forced to kill the survivor tomorrow for murdering their “matey.”
What a clever beast he was!
Euthudia and Lutria sat on one side of the fire, Spiritmartin and Martin on the other. The sun's last rays had vanished long ago, and so had supper. Now, Euthudia would tell them of her life.
“Hmm, well, it wasn't very long, I can tell ye that right away! Hmm, well, I was born to Inbar Trueflight and Grath Longfletch of Holt Rudderdale on the final day of the Winter of the Frozen Lake. Not long after, Inbar left Holt Rudderdale. About six seasons after Inbar's depature, Grath got very sick, and I was left to take over the Holt. Three seasons later, my brother, Enrico, was born. Shortly after, Grath died. When Enrico was old enough, I left the Holt to find my father. Enrico was left in charge. Shortly after I left, I made my way to the northern shores. Well, my original name was Mylonia Longflight, but at the shore, I met a seal. He was so badly injured, that I stopped and took care of him.
“In my Holt, the name Mylonia means “daughter of a warrior.” The seal, who's name was Sedalia, re-named me Euthudia, which in the seal language, means “life-warrior.”
“Whatever, but if Sedalia hadn't allowed me to live with her, I would've surely died. Not long after the winter was over, Sedalia asked me if I could go to Mossflower Wood and get some of the strawberries that grew at the edges of the forest. I was to follow the sea until Mossflower came into sight, then I was to make a longbow and arrows to protect against the loanrats that roamed. If I came into any trouble, I was to let out a call: Seeeeeddddddaaaaaaaalllllliiiiiiiaaaaaa Seeeeeeaaaaaallll!, and she would come. Well, story to be short, I made it to Mossflower. Sedalia had been lacking behind, then putting on an extra burst of speed, just far enough to catch up to me, then slacking again. She was playing with me. However, one time she lacked too much. One of the loanrats came out of Mossflower and shot me. Sedalia heard my cry, but she was too late. I was dieing.
“It's intresting to see your dead body, but still feel alive. Somehow, you feel more free... does that make any since?” Euthudia finished her tale.
Lutria was wiping her eyes with her tunic sleeve. “Aye, yes it does, Mylonia.”
Euthudia sighed. “'Tis been many a year since I was called Mylonia.”
Martin stood up. “Do you want to be called Euthudia?”
The otter spirit thought for a moment. “Yep, I do, but do me a favor- our warcry will be Seeeeeddddddaaaaaaaalllllliiiiiiiaaaaaa Seeeeeeaaaaaallll! Okay?”
Without thinking, they had camped by the other side of the river. Also without knowing it, they had taken so many shortcuts, that, after they had crossed the River Moss, they were by the shore. When Euthudia had shouted Sedalia's call, other ears were listening.