It was the beginning of spring, and a grand one at that. Creatures were emerging from the cold winter with renewed energy and, with the land once again green, a large list of chores to be completed. One such creature, an otter named Castus, was sprinting through the woods, a pair of logs on his shoulders. The winter had been hard on his home and a tree had fallen from the harsh cold, breaking a large hole in the wall of his home. Due to the cold he was forced to merely avoid the room, but now that the trees were given new life and their boughs strengthened he began to work hard on the wall.
He lived only a short distance from his birthplace, the great abbey of Redwall, and was releived from a bit of the work by a few charitable creatures from the abbey.
Two mice were sanding down the hole whislt a squirrel and another otter were clearing the room of debris. The tree lay nearby, it had been chopped up but they discovered that the wood was far too rotten to use for the wall. Castus lay the logs down as the old vole recorder of the abbey, Carta, approached him.
"Well you're lucky that the tree wasn't any taller, or it may have taken out your bedroom too, look." She pointed to a bough that was mere feet from the room where he slept.
"Well let's try and rebuilt this as soon as we can. don't want any vermin coming across the hole now that it's spring."
The squirrel clearing his room tossed out a small pile of rotted wood adding "Why didn't you just do this when the tree fell? It wasn't that cold of a winter."
Castus shook his head stubbornly at the thought of it "Fear. I don't know why but I've just never been one for the cold. I've tried to overcome it. But whenever I step outside on a cold day I just freeze up."
"I remember, when you were young and it was snowing at the abbey you'd stay inside and find some work to do." said Carta
"Well if I couldn't go outside I may as well do something. Besides, I picked up a few things from them." Said Castus.
The other otter a female named, Gratia, picked up one of the logs and began to cut it into a usable piece for the wall. "Maybe ye can learn to fix a wall, I could use some help."
"Gladly" He walked over to the two mice, who had finished sanding down the edges. He inspected them and measured it for the piece that would be used.
As the day went on they made great progress, the hole becoming slowly smaller as new planks were placed. But as they worked Carta began to notice things about the way Castus lived. Around his small home there were few tools, and his only means of defence being a small dagger left out in the open. His kitchen was almost bare, with a small pit for a fire and an almost empty pantry.
"Castus, how did you ever survive the cold with such few things? You may only live alone but I don't think I could live off this for a week, let alone a season."
Castus smacked his belly with a hint of pride "My mum always said that if I were stuck on an island I could live off the sand and the stone. 'Sides, I've always been a bit of a picky eater."
Carta shook her head in denial "No, no, I can't see somebeast starving themselves, even with an apatite such as yours you must be starving."
Castus thought on this for a moment, trying to remember the last time he ate a full meal since leaving the abbey. "Well now that ye mention it I do miss those big feasts at the abbey. Everybeast singing, and telling tales whilst stuffing their mouths with the best food I think I've ever had."
"Well then join us tonight, this wall is good enough as is, and we'd love to have you back for a day. And Friar Amicus misses your help." said Gratia
"Alright, but just for one night, just to thank the Abbot for sending you to help. But don't bug me about leaving, I know you will." He said, talking through the hole.
As dusk slowly encroached upon them they decided it was high time to head back. Covering up the remains of the hole by laying a plank against it they made the short walk back to the abbey.
"Ya know it's funny how little I visit the abbey, considering how close I am to it." Said Castus as the belltower grew from the treetops
"Well it's always nice to have you there, we wouldn't want something to happen to you and not have a sliver of knowledge about it." Said one of the mice
"What d'ye mean by that?"
"Well think if ye got killed by some vermin, your family would have no idea it happened. Just keep living on as they did before."
"Hmm, never really came across vermin much here. I heard they were all up north, just another reason I guess."
As the gate closed behind them and sounds of joy welcoming an old friend eminated from the abbey sounds of a different kind came from the south, a chant that rung through the land there, one that was feared by all walks of life.