Note: Please read Revenge of the Tyrants before you read this! Thank you.
A light rain dripped through the high boughs of the trees in Mossflower Woods, the tiny drops falling downward to the forest floor below. A young mouse plodded on through the cold wetness, the satchel on his back soaked through and his fur sticking to him. He looked up through the trees at the graying sky and sighed. It had been a week since he had left Redwall Abbey, and already he missed it's warm, comforting shelter and high, protecting walls. If only he had never gone there, he thought, then none of this would have happened. He wondered if his adopted father and his friends would send out search parties for him. Did they really care? Rylo walked over to a thick, sturdy oak and laid back against it's trunk. He hoped that he would find some real shelter, a kind creature that would let him stay in their burrow or cottage. But for now, he would have to stay with what he got. His eyelids started to droop as sleep overtook him. Suddenly he sat bolt upright and listened. He had heard a noise coming from over to his left, behind the tree. He drew a small dagger from his belt and carefully stood up. Then he heard it again, a harsh, chattering sound. He peered around the tree and saw a strange sight. Four dim lights twinkled and hovered above the ground, and small, dark shapes scurried and chattered back and forth. Rylo stared in awe as one of the little figures was lifted into the air, shrieking. A few more of the little creatures leaped up and swung small weapons at the lights, felling one of them. The creatures then leaped upon it, beating it with their weapons. The other three lights hovered around for a moment, then flew silently off. Rylo watched as the little creatures scurried around and chattered to each other before suddenly disappearing from sight. Rylo breathed a sigh of relief at not being noticed and turned to lean back against the tree. Before he could even move, dozens of the small figures leaped at him and held him down. He struggled wildly for a moment, then a pawful of smoking herbs was held under his nose and he sank into darkness.
Rylo's eyelids slowly open and he groaned. Through his faded vision he could make out small figures dashing back and forth in front of him. One of them spoke in a strange, chattering accent, “Kachaka! Der mouseymouse bee's wakey upnow!” Rylo blinked and tried to rise, but he found that he was bound to a tree, and his satchel and dagger were out of his reach. The mouse growled at the little creatures, “You little savages! Let me go right now!” One of the creatures, that was a little bigger than the others, came forward and smacked him across the face with his paw and waved a small axe in front of Rylo's face menacingly, “Younow shuteeup! You bee's Flitchaye prizner now! Karchaka!” The other Flitchaye started dancing around, snickering and chattering wildly. Rylo rolled his eyes and sighed. He had no idea what these crazy little beasts would do with him, but he knew that if he escaped, then he could take them all on. Suddenly there was a commotion off to the side of the Flitchaye camp and Rylo could see that a few of the creatures were dragging along the carcass of a small raven. A few more of the Flitchaye were bringing a cooking pot over to a shallow pit where some others were building a fire. The leader waved his axe and said, “Now cookee bigbird nicenice! It be goodfood for Flitchaye!” Rylo watched as they threw the raven's carcass into the pot and danced around the fire. The mouse gulped. These little creatures were cannibals and who knew if he might be next on the menu?
Two pairs of eyes watched the scene closely. A young mousemaid whispered to her otter companion, “Do you really think that Rylo is over there?” The otter shrugged, “It could be him. But in this light it's hard to tell. Maybe we should move in closer.” The mousemaid bit her lip, “But what if they see us?” The otter pulled a sling and and pouch of stones from his belt, “Then we'll fight for our lives. Come on!” They crept closer, always watching both the mouse tied to the tree, and the savage little creatures dancing around the fire.