A sequel to the story Moriel and Treil on the Redwall Wiki. I'll have to ask permission to put it up, considering it's completed. Anyways...
Two seasons before Chapter 1 Edit
Zabrid and Ravenda came from the south!
Far from the coast watched over dutifully by Salamandastron, from the hottest lands on the planet, from the islands. Zabrid was a soot grey fox, dappled with white and black spots on his chest, with a large red cloak with a fur hood, the fur from his sister. Ravenda was like a soothsayer, black with violet eyes and huge gold earrings and noisy silver bracelets up her arms. Her skirt was made of animal tails, the slaves they had beaten to death, skinned, and threw to the Baysayers, because you couldn't let corpses rot in the sun of Monasco.
Monasco was a small island, only inhabited by a sandy beach and a tropical forest that covered most of it. Strange breeds of being lived deep inside the forest, many of them in service to the two foxes. In the middle of the forest (or as middle as they could get, the very first Pyremaniacal fox had been extremely picky.) stood Castle Pyredom , built from a variety of stone blocks found on the island, in the coves, even transported from lands far away. The very top grew above the trees, visible from anywhere on Monasco. The slaves had lived in the caves that were a paw's step away from the briny. Many times, they awoke to find one of their number gone, taken by the sea in the night. Since then, they had been moved into the cellar of Castle Pyredom.
The ruling line of foxes, (Or, Pyremaniacs), had been there for so long, nobody questioned who ruled, though the castle had been only recently constructed. It was said that the first one had been born in a fire mountain, and thus began their unhealthy obsession with fire and flames. Most likely, a Pyremaniac fox was born the color of ashes, and if not, had the rubbed into their fur until they looked dull. "Never outshine the fire," they said, "Because if you do, it will make you shine brighter with the heat and pain of it's flames."
Though a rumor existed, that the castle and island was not always owned by the foxes, that a long time ago, some other family had ruled peacefully and fairly, because over the entrance to Castle Pyredom, scratched into the stone, the words, "Entali'st, D'O'Mallin Rotur" stood.
Even though the foxes lied and said it meant nothing.
The vermin ship, Waterblade, was stocked with 300 crewbeasts and 5 slaves to cater to the pair. It was ready to set sail, to find whatever land they could find, for they had depleted their slaves to "a pitifully small number" Ravenda said. On the day of departure, the remaining slaves, along with most members of the horde, had to stand on the sand, under the large leaves of the tropical jungle, shouting "All hail King Zabrid and Queen Ravenda, The Pyremaniacs, may they bring fortune to Monesco while they rule the world!" with guards standing to slash at them with a sword when one stopped to catch his breath.
The thing was, Zabrid had already had his trunk heaved onto the ship, filled with gold pieces he liked to touch when things got too stressful and could not set something on fire. The problem was that his mate was not aboard the ship.
"Where is she?" he snarled at his ships Captain, a weasel named Baulir, who bowed respectfully. "Kind Zabrid, I've not the foggiest clue."
On shore, two lizards, green with orange stripes, yellow eyes, and hooked claws, hit their spears together, and a voice behind them called out in a strong voice, "Her Highness, Queen Ravenda!"
"All hail Queen Ravenda! Haaailll herrr!" The Queen stomped across the sand, Fressca, her ferret handmaid, directing the guards at heaving her trunk aboard.
"What took you?" said Zabrid impatiently, "It's already midmorning, feel how hot it is out here?"
"Like you'll be bothered," she replied coldly, "Hiding in your cabin, drinking the wine, or holding the gold up to a candle." she swept past him, her trunk following.
"Citizens!" Zabrid called out over the beach. Guards were talking, the slaves still chanting automatically, until the fox king had to yell, "Shut up!"
"As you know, or should have deduced by now, your king and queen are on an expedition to find more animals, who will be loyal to your Pyremaniacs, and who will willingly serve us, and build our empire." Here he smiled wickedly, "And of course, our slaves will get company too, much more company. Everybeast here will obey the Regent, Althalos." He waved at the guards, who started the slaves up on a new chant.
"May your journey be swift and may it prosper! May our Pyremaniacs live long to rule all of Monesco, and all of the world!"
A bottle of wine was smashed against the hull of the ship, with Zabrid yelling at them, how they had wasted good wine that should have been on the ship, and the Waterblade took off north, to find who it could capture.
Long after the ship had sailed out of sight, the slaves were led away back to the compound. A younger hedgehog sighed, "May those flea bitten fire lovers burn before they take another slave." and was knocked unconscious by a guard, and he was dragged along the forest floor, with the others trying to hold him up.
I'm Trattin, and I'm almost 10 seasons old this summer. Redwall Abbey's in a bit of a doze right now. My mum says that it looks like Abbot Langen near ready to retire from his post, but who will rule Redwall? Of course, she says, we don't really need someone to tell us what to do, except for perhaps our family, because, as she says, "We take to the winds, do the odd job, and we still make it through swell." My brother, Matronik, asked when the Long Patrol Hares would come by again, and she frowned and looked out the window, "I've no idea," she said, and now, I'm going to see McCalenth, and ask him if he'll fly to Salamandastron to see when they come. Perhaps I can come along, too.
The young squirrel was about to sign on his entry when he found his inkwell had dissapeared. He looked about for it, shuffling papers and moving books until a smothered laugh caught his attention, and he looked under the desk. His little brother, Matronik, had taken the inkwell and had smeared it's contents all over his spines and paws. "YAAAH!" he jumped out at Trattin and managed to put a few pawprints over his work.
"No, Mat!" He tried to pull off the hedgehog, who had now began to eat part of the parchment, when a voice behind them asked, "What's he doing now?" Matronik let go of the paper and ran to the visitor. Moriel was 10 seasons older, and had not lost her sense of adventure and fun, and still quite tall. Matronik ran to her and she bent down and gave him a hug.
"Hi, Mum," said Trattin, "Mat came in and bothered me, I was just tryin' to be a recorder. He even ate a bit of paper, see?"
Matronik laughed, "I was bein' a waters'ake!" he said cheerfully, hopping about.
"Were you really?" she asked, and Trattin mumbled, "Watersnakes don't hide and attack unsuspecting people." then he stopped, "Actually, they do. But he shouldn't be attacking my paper!"
"How about you go and be an eagle," said Moriel, looking at the torn piece of parchment, "McCalenth can even teach you how to fly!"
"That's right! McCalenth! Come on, Mat!" his anger with Matronik swiftly forgotten, Trattin picked up the little hedgehog and ran out the room, with his brother squealing "WHEEEEEE!"
The Radwake had been recovered from the Mosslites' stream area, and had set off again, leaving only Tandin to run with Skipper's otters, and McCalenth to fly back and forth, from ship to Abbey to relay news. For now the osprey was sitting on the walltop, watching the sun began to sink behind the trees, and singing quietly to himself.
An Abbey life, I'm knowing,
Nothing but eat, and help, and sleep,
Where could I be going, where could old friends be--
Matronik wiggled and poked at his sibling until his spines were too much for Trattin, and he dropped him. "Terror!" he said, as Mat went to climb the stairs to the top, yelling "M'lenth, M'lenth!"
The bird had stopped his song , "Who is coming at this hour?" he said, and looked out into Mossflower below, "Fiend, friend, or foe?"
"It be just me, Mat'nik!" The hedgehog laughed as the bird tossed him in the air, and caught him gently again. "Just a little spinedog!" he said cheerfully, "What are you wanting this evening?"
"We wan'ta go to to Salandastron!" he said between giggles. Trattin followed up the stairs and panicked a bit at Matronik flying in the air.
"We want to go to Salamandastron, McCalenth. And anywhere else. We want to have adventures and see the places, like you and mum and dad did."
"Speaking of, did you do the permission asking?" said the osprey, and Trattin tapped his head.
"No. We ran out to find you first." He hoped he would not have to hear the speech about being too young--
"Well, I am thinking your parents may believe you to be too young--" There it was! "Though I personally can't see why you shan't come with me and whoever else may come along! Chances are, the Guosim will be in accompaniment, as will Stramdell's otterclan. I'm game for takin' ye t'see the mountain, boys. But you go put the question to your folks."
He placed Matronik on the ground and swept him and Trattin gently into a talon, "I'll be coming with you, it's suppertime!"
Chapter 2 Edit
Kimbaland O'Mallin looked out of the throne room of Castle Floret. She saw the moat below her, the river to her right, and the plains and woods all around her, where her subjects--or, future subjects--had their homes, cooking and laughing and singing and loving life. Summer was just beginning and Southsward was already extremely hot. Animals hadn't started falling ill, but she wondered how her mother would handle the situation when it arose, because it always did during droughts.
One of Kimbaland's good friends (and her Lady in Waiting), Sunnistorm Streambattle, was looking out the window too, down at the moat where a few other otters were playing and splashing.
"You can go play, if you'd like, Sun." said the princess, "It's dead hot, I'd already be down there if Mum may not of had need of me."
"Can't!" Sunnistorm, who always looked as though she were about to laugh, turned her smiling face to her friend, "I've got to protect my Lady!" she said, giving a mocking curtsy.
"Fine, you bother. I'll come with you!" a guard opened the door as the two raced down the stairs and through the kitchen. "Hold on there, your highness," said one mouse, putting pasties in the oven, "Phew! We need some watercress...anyways, you are to go to the throne room quick as y'can. Bollum just came by to tell me." he said, wiping a paw across his head and going to prepare the cheese.
"Aww..." Kimbaland and Sunni made their way back upstairs, through a hall way, and into the Throne Room. Queen Samnira sat with her lady-in-waiting, Sunni's mother Escalia, standing behind her on the right. Captain Trache stood behind the throne on the left, speaking quietly in mole dialect as best he could to a runner, even though he was a mole himself.
"Presenting her majesty, Princess Kimbaland, all hail Queen Samnira!" The royal flag hung over the entrance to the room, red and gold, bearing the words "Entali'st, D'O'Mallin Rotur".
"At ease." Sunni quickly ran over and gave her mother a hug, who quickly said, "Shh, now, remember!" and gave her a light push back to her position.
"Okay, Mum, what is it?" Kimma swept off a section of the floor with her bushy tail and sat down. Samnira sighed.
"This concerns all the Captains and messengers as well, Trache, if you may please find the messengers, your guards and deliver them here. And Decheal."
He saluted with his short sword, "Right away, Highness." and left down a concealed passageway behind a tapestry quickly. When he left, Sunni quickly asked permission to go swim in the moat, "Provided Kimma comes too, because she has to! Right?". This particular branch of squirrel dynasty in Castle Floret didn't require all handmaids follow their charges all the time, but Samnira wanted her daughter to practice and get used to the idea.
"Can't I, Mum? It's hot out, especially with this tail!"
Samnira was about to give her permission, when Prince Decheal came in from a window, upsetting the banner over it. He jumped in and landed lightly, twirling his tail. "Whoooorrr! Right here, Ma! What's going on?"
The Queen had clutched her shoulder with a paw, "Decheal, please don't do that? What if you were an enemy, there were no guards here!"
"What if I was?" the Prince asked, "That doesn't make any sense, Ma!" The Captains and Trache had come in silently, and saluted.
"Anyways..." The Queen sighed, "Torkoalsen has flown in from Salamandastron; he says that Lord Ronnan has spotted small bands of vermin. He fears they could give us a problem." Samnira's paws clenched; She disliked being thought helpless, but it was true Southsward had no major army. "So, the Lord has graciously offered to send us 20 or so of his Lieutenants, Captains, and best swordsbeasts, to train us and help defend us."
Kimma raised her paw, "That's really nothing to do with us...is it?"
"The point is, Southsward is under a severe heat spell. I need everyone to assist animals with their chores, so everyone can get to cooler places quickly. Understood?"
"Yes, Queen!" "Righto, Ma." "Sure thing!"
And everyone was dismissed.
Waterblade had been sailing for a season and a half. The Pyremaniac foxes had stopped at many islands, capturing lizards into their service, and unfortunately--slaves as well, who were currently below decks, while the slave driver Rascord glared at them through his one eye.
"'ear that?" The rat spat through snaggled teeth.
A brave young hedgehog said, "No, but I reckon your hearing has to be better than your sight!" and Rascord snapped the whip in his direction.
"I wouldn't be sayin' a thing, whelp, or I'll make sure the Baysayers are gnawin' on you next, spines an' all!" Another guard came down the stairs an went over to Rascord. It was hard to tell what kind of animal he was, he wore too many grimy shirts, an eyepatch, and a bronze molding was clamped over his snout.
"His Pyreness wants a word wid everybeast. Up on deck, he's sent me here to keep watch."
Rascord gripped his whip tightly, "An' who's you, eh? Where's Draplorn?" He went to grab the newcomer, who quickly stomped on his paw, grabbed the paw with the whip, and withdrew a short bronze sword with the other paw.
"Y'can be seen in one piece or twenty! Get yer triflin' hide up there, move!" The rat gave him a murderous glare, and went up the stairs, swearing. The animal sighed, and took the plating off his nose, "Can hardly breathe!" he said pulling his whiskers and thumping his rudder "How those coves can stand that stench is beyond me!"
"Beserko!" The captives cheered; Beserko Des Moin had been living in the ranks of the horde for many seasons, always trying to free the slaves when land was reached, and bringing extra food and water when the slavedrivers were feeling extra cruel. His own family was among the slaves, his brother and sister Driudo and Dallalily. Lily smiled and said "Why, look who's showed up, ole walk the plank!"
"Has that foul flamefur really called a meeting?" asked the hedgehog again.
"He sure has, Maddin," Beserko nodded, and began to pass out bits of hard tack, "An' that fool's in a right state."
King Zabrid was pacing around the ship, swiping one dry brach over the other, until sparks flew and lighted a part of the deck. A small fire alighted on the deck and he laughed. One new recruit to the horde had seen it, "Fire!" he yelped, and tossed a bucket of seawater on it. He looked up to see Zabrid staring at him, open-mouthed.
"Er..." the weasel shuffled about, "'Tis a fire, sir. I-I dun' think you did it, yer Pyreness, but--" The next thing he knew, his king had grabbed him by the next and held a now burning branch under his nose.
"What's yer name, son?" he said, speaking over the crackling fire.
The weasel fainted, and Zabrid threw him on the deck. To every crewbeat he saw, he snarled at them, "Get yer flea hides to the galley!" He passed Baulir, who quietly fell in step behind his king as they went into the galley.
The horde was shouting and talking, stealing one another's chairs and jewelery, tugging gold chains and piercings right off of their owners. When they saw Zabrid, standing in the doorway, silhouetted by the noonday sun, they all stopped quickly and sat down. Zabrid walked to the front of the group and picked up his giant battle axe. There were two giant prongs on each side of the stick, and each side of the blade, and he swung it carelessly around, nearly lopping off a rat's paw.
"Pritanz has told me we have been sailing consecutively North--" There were cries of outrage, until the axe was slammed into a table, "Shut up you idiots, I'll behead you all in a flash, so I will!"
Someone raised a paw, "So when will we get off this floating flea tub?" Before Zabrid could murder somebody, the galley door banged open once again, and Fressca walked through, holding a lamp with a purple light.
"What is she doing now?" he asked impatiently, and Fressca shook the lamp, making the light flash on the wall. Ravenda came in, dragging the skin of some long-dead animal on the floor. Beads, bones, twigs and branches among other things were on the skin, scattered about. She placed it in the front of the room.
"The spirits have told me what shall be done!" She said to the crowd, throwing her arms up. Shunted off to the side, Zabrid sighed and said "Again?"
Ravenda shot him a glare, "Well, it's not like you have any idea where we're going." she snapped. "Regardless, the great Pyremaniacs from Hellgates have let their Queen know where, when, and who exactly we shall plunder and rule!"
The audience said nothing, and Fressca took the top off the lamp. Ravenda seemed to throw nothing on the fire, but it suddenly flared up, a smokey red and purple cloud. She sat down and began to arrange the objects on the skin, muttering strange incantations.
"Entoursit, pyrdassisn, show the Seer, their destiny!" The fire exploded again into more red smoke, and Ravenda stopped speaking. For a long while, she sat there and read the items.
Zabrid could wait no longer, "What? What is it?" Then Ravenda yelled as loud as she could;
"Sand and more sand,
take the castle, and the mountain.
Beware the children of the nearly evil,
the grand one of the rule
And the one whom you steal the inheritance from."
She stopped for a moment and kept going.
"Then the heir of the mountain will come home."
A few captives had been released from their chains, but stood close to their seats should Rascord return. Driduo occasionally snapped the whip over the walls, shouting things like, "Get yer shoulder's heavin', afore I heave this whip som'more!". He found the freshest food he could--even a bit of cheese from the Pyermaniac's personal food stores--and distributed it as evenly as he could. The hedgehog Madden hopped around nearby, "Where were you before here, Driudo?". The otter sighed and ran a paw over his face.
"I can hardly remember, my family traveled so much...even now, that we're grown, me an' those two siblings of mine could never sit still.
We were swimming around south of the mountain, back on the mainland. You ever been on the mainland, Madden?" He asked, and the young slave nodded and answered, "Beyond plains and in the forest by the lakes, where the hedgehog tribes lived."
"Oh, we never got that far. Did end up in a snowy little place once, couldn't swim in the frozen--" he stopped, and listened hard. Everyone grew quiet. Then Driudo walked partly up the stairway that led to the main deck and returned a moment later, "Fleabag's still holdin' their meeting, I'm watchin'. Anyways, no, we ain't never get that far. A rocky, sandy beach, dunes and forest all behind us, and that mountain to the east. There were a colony of hedgehogs and sea otters, an' a more welcoming bunch I've yet to me."
"What about us?" Madden interjected.
"Arh, why would ye welcome someone aboard a ship as evil as this, an' as a slave? Nothin' against the goodbeasts here, o'course. We had our colony and really felt at home, until a group of slavers showed up one night. They chanted 'All hail Ascillary the Sand Marauder!' r summat. I tried--we tried--to defend ourselves, but we were overpowered and captured. I thank fate my old parents, may they rest in the waves, weren't there to see their children captured."
"How did you end up here?"
"Hold on, I'm getting to that. Apparently, this Ascillary fellow wasn't there that night, just a raiding party. As we were being rushed across the beach, another group of vermin showed up, this one being the Pyremaniacs, with Zabrid at the head. He pointed his sabre at our slavedriver, said, "They belong to me now.", An' cut his head off. The rest of his maniacs took care of the rest, and so here is the remainder of the Des Moirn Clan."
Madden was still very young, and had lived most of his life in captivity. "How long ago was that?" he whispered now.
Beserko pulled at his whiskers, apparently counting, "Nearly 15 seasons ago, if the Summer Solstice is comin' near. Lily is the youngest, then Driudo, an' me, ahh, I'm just an old otter trying to die free."
"Come now, you're aren't that old. How did you start being a spy, get in the Pyere's ranks?"
A door on deck slammed, with footsteps and voices following abovedeck. "Ahaha, well, maybe not, but that's another story for another day, lad. Back in these chains, I'm afraid, let's round up the others."
Madden took his spot on the bench, wondering if the outside world had changed.
Chapter 4 Edit
"Open the door, open the door!" Neillen opened the door to the Great Hall in a hurry, and McCalenth, Matronik, and Trattin tumbled in, laughing.
"Hello, Neil." said Trattin, while Matronik yelled, "Where's my parents?"
"Why do you ask?" replied Neil, jokingly, "What could you possibly want to speak with your own parents for?"
All three of them groaned, and Neil laughed, "Well, from the sound of it, Treil has just finished ringing the bell, an' your Moriel's probably either up there, or locking the gates or rolling the cheese or something crazy!"
The entirety of Redwall were milling about the Hall, preparing to sit down and take the evening meal. Abbot Langen was smiling at them all, while a paw stiffly grabbed at the small handbell.
Neilen, Trattin, and Matronik went over to the Abbot, and the librarian's apprentice handed him the bell, "There you are, Father. Have you seen Moriel or Treil this evening?"
"Mmm, no, can't say I have. Choonel and Perrieal were rounding up Dibbuns...I think those two were ringing the bell."
"I do remember the evening bell sounding rather loud. I bet even Skipper and Tandin could hear it, wherever they are."
Matronik stood on a chair and started yelling "BOOM! BAM! BONG! BRRRRAAAAM! It's suppa time!" and Trattin quickly picked him up and sat him down, "Stop it!"
Everybeast sat down and waited while the Abbot said the blessing;
"Thank the sun, thank the rain, thank the earth once again, for growing us plenty to eat. Thank the heart that protects us and the walls always standing, we shall partake now, we shall eat."
Matronik quickly took a leek and mushroom pastie, poking it with his wooden fork and taking a bite.
"Phoaar, it's hot!"
"Much like outside these days, am I right Abbot?" said McCalenth conversationally.
Langen shook his head, "I'm afraid I can hardly make it outside these days, it is just that hot. My eyesight's not up to par, either, but I do think they're coming."
Trattin had been concentrating on his soup, trying to make a roll into a boat so it could float--and had paid no attention until he heard, "Ouch--! You're going to have to get off now, Mat--you're rather prickly."
Trattin looked up and grinned at Treil, "Dad, guess what?" Treil had gotten a bit taller, and there was a brush of brown over his tail, but he had hardly changed.
"What is it, Trattin?" he asked, but Mat had already said "Saladscont Mount'n!" and bit into another pastie.
"What he's trying to say is that McCalenth is going to Salamandastron, an' he wants to see if we can come too, can we, please?" Trattin had gotten so excited, he was standing on his chair. Now he sat down and spread his napkin in his lap, like he'd seen the Abbot do "See, I'm grown up enough."
"Huh..." Treil leaned back in his chair. "Salamandastron! We were there once, Moriel and I, Tandin, Enprise, some of Skipper's crew, a while before you came...that will be something to see! I wonder if Lord Ronnan is still around? Commander Stallien?"
"An' that's where they are too!" said Mat, with a "Whoooaaa!" as he was picked up by someone.
"That's where who is, Master Matronik?" asked Moriel, and Matronik wiggled and said, "Matchin', Soolry, an' ScautWindin!"
"It would be nice to formally meet them. McCalenth says he's taking his seasonal trip to Salamandastron, and he wants us to come! May we, please?"
Moriel looked at the osprey, "Are you going with the Guosim, or the Holt?" and he shrugged as best a bird could do.
"We'll meet up with 'em soon. You needn't worry, miss Moriel, your boys are with me the safest."
"Well, we'll see, just tuck in for now," she said, and they all groaned, with good nature, even Treil.
Chapter 5 Edit
"Lift that side a bit more, will yer, Highness? That's the ticket!"
Kimma and Sunni were helping an older hedgehog, Rindaspike , finish up her raft. She tied a length of vine around the log the maids were lifting, and bound it to the rest of the vessel. "There! The good ship Watersaver!"
"Now to get it to the river." said Kimma. "Our original destination..." The river ran through the forest through Southsward, and doubled on itself through the plainlands before continuing.
"Willing to push it up to the beginning, you pair?" asked Rinda, dabbing at her head with a dockleaf.
"Only if we can push it through the water!" said Sunni, and hopped around the clearing.
"Hmm, I'll tell you what. We'll take this to the river, and run the whole course of the river, stopping before we get to the beach, and too far north. Okay?"
"Whee! Let's go!" They each lifted a corner of the raft, and slowly made their way to the river. "Where's the vine rope?" grunted Kimma.
"I've got it! The push pole, too. Here we go!" Rinda stepped in the river, while the two maids pushed their end into the water. The hedgehog quickly slung the rope around the mast and stepped onto the bank, pulling the rope.
"Alright, I've got this end. Sure her Highness won't have anything against you takin' a trip, Kimbaland?"
The princess put a paw over her mouth, looking at Castle Floret through the trees. "Not likely. She said to help people who needed help. Well, we've helped you, and if we see anyone else, we'll help them too!"
"All aboard, then!" Sunni picked up the push pole and jumped aboard, Kimma following. Rinda carefully stepped on, and coiled the rope. The raft soon began to move at a steady pace.
Lord Ronnan, Commander Stallien, and Captain Matchlin Fandortail were giving instructions to the group assigned to assist Southsward.
"Fate knows I'd love to go with you," said the Captain, "But, it's almost time for the conditioning for the Patrol. Have to find out what they can do best, and how they'll do it."
"That's why you five are headed off," said Stallien, "Because we know you're among the best. Keep them in line, Kruppshanks. Lillurn, remember, watch everyone else's back as well. Potter, I don't want to hear you made fancy meals out of flatbread and fruit preserves, hear? The food needs to be fit for eating on the go."
"I still can't see why you're not coming, sah." Lillurn said, raising her paw.
"I'll have to stay at my Lord's right paw." Stallien replied, after a moment of silence. He looked all around the meal hall, "Where are the other two, Amberial and Italnio?"
Matchlin sighed, "Leave it to me, sah." He walked the length of the dining area and stuck his head in a hallway, "Anybeast goin' on the trip to Southsward better hope to it in the dinin' hall! Scurvy sick menaces will be in here by the time I've finished, or you'll be stayin' your tail right here, an' your ears'll be helping out the Queen! Hear me?"
"But Captain, we were already here!" Twins Amberial and Italnio Saraffmiff had snuck in quietly, when the attention of the elder animals was directed at Matchlin, who was standing with hand on staff, pointing at them.
"Where did you come from?"
"Long story, really, our old mater just wasn't attracted to pa like he was to her at first--"
"I should have you two patrol the mountain, by yourselves for that little stunt! I paw-picked you two, I thought you could stand to stop jokin' around during a battle, and grow up!"
Italnio waved a dagger carelessly, "Aw, we're grown enough, we can handle a bit of defending--Whoops!" the weapon flew out of his paw and clattered harmlessly against a table.
"You have your supplies, I think you'd best get going." The five hares saluted Lord Ronnan, turned tail, grabbed their fallen weapons, and marched out of the hall, Amberial so enthused, he bounced his way ahead of them all.
Stallien sighed, "Let's make our way to the Northeast side, we can see them go." He stretched stiffly and was making his way into an adjacent hallway when a young hare hopped up. She saluted to Stallien, saying "Hullo, Commander! Where was that lot off too, what mission were they on?"
"Go in there and ask your pa, he's in charge of this whole thing. Straighten up your sword there, you'll cut your scut off." The maid straighten her bit of driftwood, stood up straight as she could, and walked into the hall.
Ronnan saw her and let out a laugh, "Look at your little girl, more discipline than the new recruits, and some of the old ones too!"
"At ease." said Matchlin, and Windinshire Scaut Fandortail put her stick in an imaginary sheath. "What's happening? Has Solariey asked when the new uniforms are to be stitched up, 'cause I'm not sure...Lord?" He directed the question at Ronnan.
"Perhaps in a few days' time, but I think Scaut is here for another reason."
"Yes, sah. Where were Potter an' the others off too? They had haversacks and weapons, I saw them, that's more than a day trip!"
"Well...they were off to Southsward. Might as well let the bird out of the stewpot, they're doing some scouting, helping out the Queen." The Captain began to tap his staff on the stone floor.
Scaut began to hop from footpaw to footpaw, "Is there going to be a war? Will we need to train?"
"I know you're eager to learn, but let's hope a war is something that we won't have to be troubled with for a long time."
"I'll settle for a small skirmish." she said, "When will I be able to visit Southsward? Or Redwall? I don't remember the last trot over."
"Don't worry, miss, soon enough, McCalenth will be here in a few days' time, who knows whom or what he will bring." Ronnan gave a small smile and nodded, "If you'll excuse me, I will go and see our group off." and both father and daughter saluted their lord out of the hall.
Early in the kitchens at Redwall Abbey, the head cook Saborath oversaw the preparation of breakfast by a new helper.
"That's it, Trattin." She said, while the young squirrel stirred a large cauldron of oatmeal. "A touch of cream. Remind me again why you are up this early? I don't mind you helping, of course, but you usually just help us deliver it to the tables."
"I want to show my parents I'm mature enough to go off to Salamandastron!" he stepped away from the cauldron, "Phew, that's hot! I dunno about Mat, but if I can help out enough, they'll see that."
"I told Matronik to set out the cutlery along with the visiting shrews, Torlo and Cabashna. Don't worry, I've only given him the spoons and napkins." laughed the cook. Through out the day, Trattin was helping anyone who needed assistance, sweeping the floors, dusting the books in the library, ringing the giant bells when it was lunchtime, noon, and tea time. After he completed each chore, he asked the one he assisted (politely, of course), that if they saw his parents, would they please tell them how wonderfully he has swept, cleared the tables, or assisted the Abbot with ought being asked.
"Sure thing, young sir," An old dormouse named Wheaten laughed, as he and Trattin finished gathering some grain, "But you'd best see what your younger half is doing."
"Mmm-hmm, yes, saw him heaving around a sack, putting things in there, like he's off on a trip!" Trattin finished wrapping up the grain for Wheaten, and then ran across the field on all fours to the Great Hall. Matronik was sitting right on the Abbot's lap, showing him and Moriel some small objects from his bag while the Abbot nodded with interest.
"See 'ere, I got us some foods for the trip! I had to leave the berries, they got all mushy when I put them in...Aleca gave me some fruit syrup flask things..." Trattin quickly went over.
"Is it true, then? Are we going?" he looked hopefully at his mother.
"Yes, I think so," Moriel smiled, "After what we've did, I don't think we can deny you one harmless trip to the mountain."
"Yippee!" Trattin gave a cheer and would have turned backflips in the hall if he were not in Langen's presence. "Right! So, when do we leave? Where's McCalenth?"
"He's off attending to preperations, you'll walk the old path outside tomorrow morning," Langen said, which caused everyone in the vicinity to look at him with surprise, "It's been so long since I've seen an epic trip, I'm excited myself. Wish I could come with you, even. But this Abbey is my home, always an adventure here."
"Besides," Moriel hefted something wrapped in brown cloth onto the table with a dull thunk. "Your father and I have to give you something." Matronik made a grabbing motion with both paws, and Moriel said "Carefully, now!"
The youngster quickly pushed off the cloth and went "Ooh!". The old metal snowflake sat on the table, edges and points a bit tarnished, the throwing strap worn.
"It's a bit too big, I know." Moriel said quickly, "But usually, when you give someone a weapon and send them on a journey, they grow big enough to use it soon enough."
Trattin felt a bit jealous, and asked "Don't I get a weapon? A dagger, or something..."
"Yours is coming, but it's just not ready yet." Moriel pushed a roll across the table, "Fight that, we'll see if you're ready for it!"
Two days passed before Matronik, Trattin, and McCalenth were ready to trek to Salamandastron, and Trattin was still waiting for a weapon to fall into his paws. The Guosim shrews visiting Redwall, Torlo and Cabashna, was attaching a knapsack to his back, while the Osprey kept wriggling and shooting honks of laughter. Matronik kept hopping around, taking Moriel's paw and hopping across the walltops.
"Right, Trattin, we're nearly ready to be leaving." McCalenth announced after a while.
"How are you getting there again?" A shout had come from the walltop.
"We'll take a day's walking through Mossflower's East, until we will meet up with the rest of Guosim. Then we'll do some river shooting, wherever we arrive, we'll look around, get our bearings, and head off in the direction of Salamandastron!" The whole plan made Moriel anxious, like McCalenth didn't have the faintest idea what he was really doing. But neither did we. she thought, carrying Matronik down to the group.
"Righto, got your food?"
"Right in the bag, Miss Moriel. Sure you don't wish to come along?"
Moriel looked back towards the main building, looking slightly sad. "Perhaps later, after the Nameday celebrations. Got your Snowflake, Mat?"
"In the bag!" he shouted, and McCalenth grumbled, "Make sure it doesn't prick or poke me, nor do you!"
Trattin, who was fidgeting quietly, suddenly blurted out "Well, what about me? I-I don't want to sound greedy, or ungrateful, but-but what if Mat is in trouble? What am I supposed to use to help him, or McCalenth?" He did not point out that his younger brother, who could hardly feed himself porridge with ought making a mess, had gotten a potentially dangerous weapon.
The door to the Great Hall banged open, and someone said "You'm apposed to use this 'un, moister Tretten!"
Foremole Ugrith waddled out, holding a black and gold sword on his blunt digging claws, Treil running behind him.
"Ugrith, you were supposed to wait for me!" Anyways..." He took the blade, "This, to put it simply, was my sword, and now it's yours." Treil handed the blade to Trattin, who stared at it with shock.
"Does it have a name? Like Martin's Sword? Is this the Mistledown?"
"...It is. Do better with it than I did, that's all I'll say." Treil wandered over to Matronik and gave him a hug, "Hear that? I'm expecting you to help animals out with that oversized star, got that?"
Torlo and Cabashna were at the gate, holding them open and looking at the sky. "Good weather, come on now, Log-A-Log ain't a patient fellow!"
"You say hello to Matchlin and Solariey now," said Moriel, giving each of the travelers a hug, "Go on!"
McCalenth, Matronik, Trattin, and the shrews quickly walked onto the path, waving to the Redwallers behind them while the gates closed.
Chapter 6 Edit
The Waveblade was in sight of land, and Zabrid was glad. The crew members he didn't burn to death were dropping dead for lack of food and water. He'd actually have to rig the sails eventually. So when a watchrat shouted land, the ship was quickly abuzz with activity. He and Ravenda spat instructions to the rushing crewbeasts, flaying the end of a burning rope at them when they failed to move quickly.
Zabrid shoved a quivering ferret, Kaloose, into a lifeboat, torch in hand, "You know what to do; Row to shore, find some firewood, make a good bonfire, we'll be there in as soon as we can. Hellgates help you if that fire is extinguished, or If I see a little flamin' dot running across the coast line away from your master..."
Kaloose put the torch in it's holder, on a long pole extending to the air, and began to paddle feverishly to the beach. When Zabrid turned around, he saw the queen looking intently at her seer bones, feathers, and assorted objects. He spat on the deck and slammed his axe down, cutting a deep rut in the deck between the items, "What, again? How much do those spirits have to say?"
Ravenda twisted her face into a snarl, paw on her mace and chain, "They say that we are headed in the right direction, whilst the king struts about, setting things ablaze!"
"Don't start,vixen, not now!" he pulled the axe out and stalked belowdecks, to the slave area. Rascord had stopped the rowing, mainly to hear from Zabrid about where they should be going. The king stomped down the stairs, "Course has been set, whip 'em at the double! Don't be stopping till ya hear the grind of land!" Rascord grinned nastily and resumed flailing the whip. Back above deck, Kaloose's flame was smaller, nearly three fourths of the way to the beach. The Waveblade would soon be following it's path.
After an hour, the ship was anchored at the beach and a large fire burning brightly. After issuing orders for a scouting party to find fresh water, and for somebeast to find he and the queen some fish, Zabrid sat down near the fire, with a guard walking behind him.
"This group goes upcoast, this one, downcoast, you go inland, at least half a league!" Ravenda sat down after a while, chanting. "Sand and more sand...This is a possible candidate, methinks, but we will have to wait for daylight to see."
Zabrid sighed, and leaned against a boulder, "Morning it will be, then." He did not see the white rat further down the coast, trying to eavesdrop, but the guard did. Quickly putting a stone in a slingshot,he let the stone fly over his head. The rat felt something fly by, and rushed off down the beach.
Daylight came, and with it, a startling discovery. Ravenda and Fressca walked down the shore a bit, looking at Salamandastron, which was still far away.
"Look, milady, it's the mountain from your vision! Certainly we can set up base, conquer it?"
"No, Fressca, it says Take the castle, and the mountain. We've got to find a castle before we take that rock, as a base of sorts."
"That's right." They both jumped as Zabrid spoke behind them, arriving silently, "We sailed too far west down this coast, I think. Shouldn't have seen that mountain first, fates know I am not putting paw to parley with whatever's in there until I have a castle of my own to plan from!"
A flaming arrow suddenly whizzed by the group, burying its point in the ground near Fressca, who pushed Ravenda down and screamed, "Fleabait! Deathfiend, where are ye two?" The two rats took off towards a white ferret, who was jogging away from the scene slowly.
"Fool!" Zabrid withdrew his battle axe, "If we're being attacked, we should be fighting and conquering, not hiding!" He put the axe to the growing fire until it caught ablaze and followed Fleabait and Deathfiend, "Rally that good for nothing lot back there!"
The ferret was quickly overtaken by the two guards. Fleabait flung a spear at him so hard, it flew through his tail and pinned him on the firmer sand. He screamed as the two approached with weapons drawn.
"Hold it!" Zabrid had came and leaned over the ferret, blazing axe in his face. "That wasn't no attack...someone with Pyremaniac relations is around...what do they have to say?"
The captive didn't talk until the axe was away. Then he stammered, "Y-Yew are wanted b-by A-Ascillary the S-S-Sand Marauder!"
The sun was setting in the west, shining into the halls and corridors of Castle Floret. Queen Samnira and Prince Decheal were sitting at the head table in the Mess Hall, residents and hired help of the castle waiting impatiently for the evening meal. Tradition dictated that no one could eat until the Royal Family in its entirety were at the meal, and Samnira held fast to that.
"Where could Kimbaland and Sunni be?" exclaimed Samnira, "If I haven't told her once, be it more times than I can count, be here when the eve horn has sounded..."
"May I instruct everyone to start eating" asked Escalia gently, "They're getting rather anxious."
"Of course." She replied distractedly, and clapped her paws twice. With better spirits, the waiting crowd helped themselves.
A small door was opened, and Kimma and Sunni walked through, with Captain Trache behind them. He saluted and stepped to the side.
"Where have you been?" Demanded the queen, rising from the table and clutching the arms of here throne.
"Just boating on the river with Rindaspike. Nothing was wrong!"
"You said you were helping her repair her raft, not go sailing! All I want is to know where you are Decheal are, and that you're safe. Do you understand, Kimbaland O'Mallin?"
Kimma looked down and shuffled her feet. "Yes, Ma. That's reasonable. I should have sent a runner back here with a message." Samnira began to say something among the lines of not using the messengers unless there was a serious emergency, but thought better of it.
"Just come and eat dinner, you two. Trake, if you have finished your evening round, and the guards are in their place, you are welcome to join us."
"Thankee, highness." The mole took a mushroom pastie and stood by the door.
The group of hares from Salamandastron were walking along the forest fringe, the mountain on their right. Commander Yinbale Kruppshanks was in the lead, shifting bits of foliage with his walking stick. Stardance Lillurn was behind him, constantly checking a hand-drawn map of the area. Potter Cauldrock was eating a scone, while the twins Amberial and Italnio were hopping around in the back, fighting off imaginary enemies.
"Oho, bad move for you, scummystoat!"
"Spiffin' stab, old pal. Watch me take this rat out through the gullet!"
"Oh I say--Whoops!"
"Stop playin' around, you two!" Kruppshanks picked up the dagger and handed back to Italnio, "You'll kill the wrong beast if you keep it up!"
"I say, old lad, when will we be there? When will we be halfway there?" Amberial bounced and waggled his ears.
"If'n we hunker down at night, we should be there by midday tomorrow." Called Lillurn "Sun's still high enough in the sky for us to cut the chatter an' march!"
A stone flew through the air and clattered against a tree. With only a "Hares! Together!" from the commander, all five hares stood back to back, weapons drawn. Another stone flew past and smacked Potter's footpaw. "Yowtch! Oi there, stop the hidin', show y'selves!"
An exasperated sigh came from the trees, "Good gracious me, Pokkla, that was a fine throw."
"But you went an' attacked some o' Lord Ronnan's hares!" There was more rustling, and a "Ouch!"
"Caburka Speedsling, yore still kickin' up leaves, I see!" A blue furred squirrel suddenly draped from a branch like a monkey, and shook Kruppshank's paw.
"'hoy there, Krupp. If'n the longears were attempting to travel, why leave so late?"
Italnio whispered to Amberial, "I say, miss bluefur doesn't miss a tick!"
Another stone flew down a pace away from his footpaw, "Didn't miss thou comments either, young 'un!"
"Trying to hobble our way into Southsward in a meaningful time, Lord worries there may be undesirables about. It's been too quiet." The hares continued on the path, walking at a slower speed, while Caburka and Pokkla hopped through the treetops, still conversing easily.
"Hah, your Lord doesn't miss anything either. I've not the faintest clue what could be happening down the dunes, there be occasionally dust clouds, and thy searchers haven't returned yet."
"Rather wonky speech patterns, wot." Whispered Amberial, and Italnio quickly shushed him.
"Remember, old cove, she doesn't miss a tick!"
Kruppshanks looked back from whence they came, "Well, I'm most certain your tribe can handle any little vermin mishap sulkin' round the sands. If not, you know who t'call."
The groups continued their walk, making small talk on occasion, until the sun was setting, and little light filtered through the forest.
"Alright, hunker down, crew. Y'can even unroll your bedsheets tonight!" said Lillurn.
"Nay so quite, Lillurn, Krupp." Caburka interrupted, "No need to take tally out here, you're free to hop along with us, we've got plenty of food."
"Even for hares." mumbled Pokkla, and there was another "Ouch!"
"Well, I don't think we'd agree otherwise!" said Potter cheerfully, "'twill be a great relief not to roast somethin' up."
"Yes, we can always button Pokkla's lip!"
Chapter 7 Edit
The woodlands were rushing by in a blur. Trattin could hardly make out the shapes. All he could see was the rushing water of the River Moss, the sky above with McCalenth flying above, and could only hear shouting, water rushing, and Matronik's happy shouts.
They were padding on a river with the Guosim late at night!
He had been for the occasionally row during the day, but at night made everything much more exciting and dangerous. Log a Log Enprise would occasionally shout out commands and directions and Matronik would imitate him, a brightly coloured shrew headband tied around his spikes.
McCalenth lowered his altitude, "'Tis late in the dark, Log a Log. Surely your riverbeasts do need sleep?" he looked quickly at the two Abbeychildren.
"Another half league, matey, then we'll reach the shaded inlet! Let 'em know we're coming! 'Home on the River'!"
Trattin had been nodding off; at the first note of the jovial tune, he blinked and sat up.
"Where's a Guosim's home, ain't sure you know
Any river an' boat's home to us, too!
Hey haa hummm!
The sea ain't for we, it's the fresh flowing streams
skim our paddles o'er the grass,
Our streams'll never come to pass,
as long as we're around!"
A few shrews were clicking their paddles together on every other beat, while the others cheered and sang the song again.
Matronik cheered and clapped his paws "Wheee! Are we almost to Salascont?"
"Not really quite, but I can see the coast from up above." McCalenth flew down and perched on the edge of the logboat, just as Enprise shouted "Sharp left, mates! Here's our spot!" The boats turned, and Trattin clenched onto the sword at his side, "I may slice a hole in the boat through all this." he said.
A short way up the hidden sidestream, it broadened into a small lake. A few rafts floated at the edge, with a large on in the middle.
"Allbeasts, bank the boats, tie 'em together! Dokklo, Huris, pick half a score, for first watch later today. Fire up the cookpots!"
A shrew came over to Trattin, who had been sitting there just watching proceedings. "Here, let me help ye. I'm Turvo, and that windbag Log-a-Log just happens to be my father." He lifted the giant throwing star and the sword Mistledown and nearly fell backward. "Great wayward stream, those are heavy! How the floggletop are you going to use these?"
"I've had lots of practice. Well, not with that sword."
Turvo smiled, "That's right. Yore father is the Redwall Champion, isn't that right?"
Trattin beamed with pride, "That's right. Though it bears repeating that Mum can be rather forceful too."
Matronik interrupted, wet from splashing water, "Yep indee'd! Ooh, lookit that!" A shrewcook came by bearing a tray with four bowls upon it. Handing it to Turvo, he said "Log-a-Log will be along in just a moment. Afraid I haven't anything for the big bird, though."
McCalenth looked into a bow, "Don't be worrying of me, sir, whatever watermouse stew that is sure smells tasty!"
Turvo passed out the bowls, "Looks like it's Streamgrass Stew!"
"Wot's that?" Matronik had fished out a piece of greenery.
"Why, 'tis a matter of eddible plants, and ooh, there's even some seaweed in here. Must've been kept for a while. I even sees some shrimp and leeks!"
Trattin tried some, "That's quite tasty! Saborath could benefit from learnin' this recipe!"
"Trattin's correct, this ranks among top-hole of any waterstew!" said McCalenth. Log-a-Log Enprise came and sat down beside his son, a bowl of Streamgrass Stew in his paws.
"Everything fine, you two? Turvo here ain't botherin' you t'death?" he asked the brothers.
"No sir, everything is just fine." replied Trattin, with Mat going "Eddifing fine!"
"Good to hear. But, unfortunately, Shike and Dopple says that while we were gone, Carribul and his gang were sulkin' about."
Turvo snorted, "Huh, well, certainly they finished 'em off!"
"Well, now, that's the thing. Apparently, that bilge rat's gone recrutin'. Has about a score and a half. Not too many, but Dopple says there was only the pair o'them. Didn't have enough for a full assault. When they gathered some others and went back to the spot, Carribul was long gone."
"Think they'll head to Redwall, sir?" McCalenth asked quietly, and the pair jumped.
"Didn't know you was listenin'! Well, perhaps they may, though I'm certain Skipper Stramdell and his bunch can put paid to 'em."
After supper, the group sat on the raft, listening to songs and watching some of the Guosim partake in mock fights. Eventually, Log-a-Log called a halt to things.
"First watch, hop to it. Everybeast hunker down, now. If yore continuin' with us to the coast, check those weapons. Full slings and sharpened daggers, that's wot I want to see!"
Trattin and Matronik climbed off the raft and onto the bank of the lake, sitting under a tree.
"Roll out that traveler's sheet, Mat, there we go." The pair of them lay down on the sheet, falling asleep with their weapons behind Trattin and McCalenth on a branch overhead, sleeping with one eye open.