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Prologue

The Peregrine falcon roosted in the upper foliage of a large oak, Dibbuns crowded around base of the tree calling up to the large bird, "Mista Bwavvlefa'con! you be's supposed to tell us a story!"

The great bird swooped down, taking care not to beat down to hard as to hurt any of the Dibbuns. he asked, "Kreeeeeee! I've told you alla stories I have."

one of the Dibbuns, a tiny molebabe spoke up, "Hurr zurr. Worra 'bout the one about ee Pickletawk that we was sent oop to bed before we could hear et, hurr?"

The falcon fixed him with one of his amber eyes, questioningly. An ottermaid came over and picked the tiny mole up saying, "I think Grilldow trying to say the one about the Pikehawk. You remember him right? You used to battle alongside him."

The falcon nodded, "Kreeeeh! Aye, I remember Pikehawk, mad fighter he was. well his story goes like this..."


Book one: A Pikehawk's Beginning

Chapter one

Riggsail Pikehawk paced anxiously about outside of Brew the otter's tent. Brew was the only otter of the Pikehawk Clan that knew about herbs and healing, and delivering young ones. Just then a blood-curdling scream ripped through the air: "AHHHHH!"

The Pikehawk Chieftan bounded through the tent flaps and inside he saw a his wife, Aayla, Brew, and a newborn otterbabe! He walked over to them and took the otterbabe in his big, scarred paws. He then he asked, "What should we name him? Personally I think we should name Keyla, or Deyna, after two of his ancestors."

Aayla shook her head, "No. I think we should name him Silverfalcon."

Riggsail looked at her, "Why?"

Brew answered for his sister, "One, because he has to many ancestors. Two, his fur is the same color as a falcon's plumage. And three, he has a silver wing on the back of his forepaws."

Riggsail mearly nodded and said, "Silverfalcon it is the..."

The sea otter Skipper gasped, swayed steadied himself and said, "Silverfalcon opened his eyes just now, they're blood red!"

Aayla took her son from her mate's paws, "Aye, red they are. but no matter, he's still an otter no matter what his eye color."

She, Brew and Riggsail walked out onto the beach, where the Pikehawk clan were having an otter gathering called a Hullabaloo. Some were having contests in the sea, others were singing rowdy sea shanties as they gulped down ale, and others were having feasting contests. All in all, a happy evening. It wouldn't stay happy for long, the Juskasie Hoard, was coming!

Soracal the Slavemaster scratched at the metal sheath holding the whip to his tail, Errgh! This itches! Why'd I agree to have this done?! Soracal and his younger sister, Silma, were the co-leaders of the Juskasie Hoard. Silma looked over the edge of the dune they were hiding behind, he ducked down when Riggsail walked over to Aayla and Sliverfalcon. She made his report to his brother, "They're t'ree riverdogs out there, or are they the sea ones? Never mind, but there are two adults and a babe, I say we kill them!"

Soracal drew one of his swords and pointed it at Silma, threateningly, "No! We return and get the Hoard, then we kill all the otters but they're young 'uns, look fer one that has red eyes and silver wing birth marks on his paws, kill the rest."

Silma stuck her bottom lip out sulkily, "Daddy said that he wanted both of us to run the Juskasie, not just you, what makes you think that you can make all the rules and call the shots?"

Soracal silently flooged his little sister, taking care not to crack the whip as he berated her, "Because! I'm bigger and more capable! Try and find some wayward creatures and start yer own Juska Clan, instead o' tryin' ta steal mine!"

Silma ran back to the Juska camp sobbing quietly. Soracal watched her go, she'll have to be taken care of! he thought

                                                       ~*~

Fires burned the otter clan's homes, warriors yelled, arrows pierced the air, steel clashed upon steel, babes wailed, mothers screamed, vermin laughed as they slaughtered the Pikehawk clan. Riggsail and Brew were fight back-to-back, Brew sent his sword and shoge ripping through any vermin who got in range, Riggsail did likewise with his twin katanas. Soracal stayed at the back of the battle with Silma. The runty bilgerat jumped up and down angrily at Soracal for not letting her run her own life, "But Da said 'Silma, Soracal I want you to joint run the clan after I die' not 'Soracal, I want you to run the clan and bully and boss yer little sister around'! So le' me help ye run it!"

Soracal punched his little sister in the nose as she came down. Wiping blood from his paw on Silma's fur he said to her, "Silma, my dear little sister, if you can find the red eyed otter, then I'll give half the clan. How does that sound?"

Silma leaped up, a expression of happiness on her face, she ignored her bleeding nose, "Oh! I'd love it! Thank you Soracal! Thank you!"

Silma ran off. Soracal watched her go the time is coming sister, ye'll see father soon!

Brew grunted, as an arrow thudded into his chest, he charged forward swinging his shoge and the remainder of his sword. Riggsail swung his katanas in windmill fashion taking out and vermin unfortunate enough to get in front of them, but not behind them, Silma ordered her archers to fire, six arows thudded into his back, on into his arm, and leg, he fell. Silma walked up, she and her archers aimed their bows at the prone figure she looked at her soldiers, "Do we take prisoners?"

Riggsail stirred, he reached for his closest katana he jammed it into the ground, Silma and her archers looked at Riggsail and began to fire, to late, Riggsail pushed down harder, his last words were only heard by Silma and her squad, "I don't!"

The steel of the katana rubbed against a piece of flint, a spark was struck, it landed on a chain of black powder. The entire battlefield went up in smoke and flame, harming no otters, they were all dead or captured, it slaughtered a great deal many of the Juskasie vermin. Thus ended Riggsail Pikehawk.

                                                     *~*

Overall fifteen otters were still living, five babes, including Silverfalcon, and ten other otters, Aayla among them. Soracal stood from chopping angrily at the burnt remains of what he thought was Silma, he walked over to the babes, he searched through them until he found what he was looking for, the legendary Taggerung! The one with wing birthmarks, red eyes, and falcon plumage colored fur, that one was Silverfalcon! Aayla screamed and began fighting like mad to get to her son. A hulking fox came over to the delighted rat, "Chief, what about the other survivors?"

Soracal looked at the fox and said, "There are no survivors!"

Fourteen hordecreatres brought their hatchets down on the backs of the otters heads. Soracal walked back towards the Juska camp, the fox, who was Soracal's second in command bellowed orders to the remaining Juskasie, "Get these bodies into the sea! And return to camp!"

Back at the Juskasie camp, Soracal was sittin with his seer, Shadestrike, as she put the traditional tattoos of the Juskasie on the young otter's face, she said in a rasping voice as she did this, "He will make a great Taggerung!"

Soracal nodded, "In time. Yes, in time!"

Chapter two

Soracal looked at Shadestrike, "How is our great Taggerung?"

"Fine, he is doing fine. When he is older we must begin his training."

"No! We must start his training now!"

"He is to young. We must wait."

"If we are to take over that darned Abbey, we must start training him now!"

"If we start training him now he will die! he is only a day old! he will die if we start his training now!"

Soracal knew his seer was right, as much as he hated to admit it he did, "Alright, we will wait. But as soon as he is four seasons old we will start his training!"

                                                      ~*~

Abbot Darunia of Redwall Abbey awoke early that morning, he was young to be abbot, a mere twenty seasons old, he had wisdom far beyond his years. He walked down to the kitchens where he often went when he was the only one awake in the Abbey. Darunia started a fire and started to make a soup, though he was abbot he still knew how to cook from all the lessons his father's best friend, Friar Dugwell, had taught to him. Dugwell walked in and saw him working next to the steaming cauldron of hot soup, he laughed, "Hurr hurr hurr! Well farther h'abbot what are ee doin' workin' in ee kitchen this early, that be's moi job!"

Darunia glared at his friend, "Oh be quiet! Your at least my age!"

The good Friar nodded, he was about to reply when the Matthias and Methuselah bells rang out. Darunia sighed, "Well that's the wake up call, my, Willesh sure is enthusiastic when it comes to ringing bells!"

Dugwell nodded, "Hurr, oi still wish't that ee would 'ave chosen Duschen, at least 'e would ring 'em as 'e talks!"

Darunia smiled at the mole, "Aye, but then everybeast in the Abbey would probably sleep in till lunch, if he rang them like he talks, he almost never talks, and when he does it's always quiet."

Badgermum Marah walked down rubbing her head, "Ohhh! My head, I always have headaches in the morning now that Willesh is Bellringer! I liked it better when you rang them Darunia! at least they were quieter then! And they stopped when the were supposed to!"

Darunia scratched his spikes, "Yes but, when Old Abbot Coron passed on he, he made me Abbot! How could I argue with him!"

Marah smiled, "Yes, Old Coron would always win an argument, huh! Before he was Abbot, he was a strong Warrior, how would he win arguments so easily? Well he would punch your lights out!"

Willesh came shooting down the stairs leading into Cavern Hole, her brother Rim chasing her, she skidded to a stop in front of the Elders. She curtsied politely then shot back up into Great Hall, she leaped over Rim's head and clambered up a column and clung there. The Rim sat at the base of the column he was much to tired to try and catch his troublesome sister. Duschen came down at that moment, rubbing sleep from his eyes he took in the entire scene, he shook with silent mirth at the sight of Rim's predicament. He walked over and clambered up a neighboring column, he swung over above Willesh, he turned himself so he could face her, he spoke quietly his voice hardly above a whisper, "What are you doing?"

She replied, "Clinging to a column for dear life, what are you doing?"

Duschen answered, "Uhh? Asking why Rim is chasing you. So why is he?"

"I tied his sheets around him so he was stuck."

"How did he get out then?"

"He got the Dibbuns to untie him."

"They don't know how to untie."

"They can gnaw."

"True. Now get down."

"No, he's going to kill me!"

"He won't kill you."

"Why?"

"Because, he is right behind you with a huge smile on his face."

Willesh jumped and fell right into her brother's paws. She glared up at Duschen, "You big fat fibber! He wasn't bihind me!"

"Now, now. No need for nasty words!"


"Shut up!"

Marah, Dugwell, and Darunia came up as the rest of the Abbey dwellers came down. The Friar's kitchen helpers walked down into the kitchen to bring up the meal, the rest of the Abbey followed down and sat in Cavern Hole. It was a happy morning. Little did they know that up north on the coast, the Taggerung, was awakening!

Chapter three

Shadestrike held the small otter, she had come to love him as her own son, and was ready to kill any who put a paw near him to harm him. Soracal watched four more seasons, four more seasons, that's all I need to wait for! four more seasons!

Anrish sneered at the fox seer holding this, so called, Taggerung! She still thought that her son was the Taggerung this imposter would have to go! Her son came walking over, "Mama, when do I start my training to be Taggerung?"

Anrish replied, "If Soracal has his own way, never!"

"Why?"

"Because Soracal thinks that otter we brought back is the Taggerung!"

"If he is the Taggerung, then I will kill him and prove I am the Taggerung!"

Before she could stop him, her son went running off. Ha grabbed Silverfalcon from Shadestrike's paws, his first mistake, Shadestrike lunged as she saw the foolish weasel about to step on Silverfalcon's head, she cannoned into Anrish's son, she held him up against a tree, her voice harsh and rasping, "Put a paw near him again and I will kill you welp!"

She threw him to the ground she went over to the crying otterbabe, she soothed him, her voice no longer harsh and rasping, but softy and kindly, "Hush now, no harm will come to you as long as I draw breath."

Silverfalcon calmed down considerably. Shadestrike smiled, she was still a young fox, not old like those other foolish seers! She cradled the baby otter lovingly, "Go to sleep, sleep, my Taggerung, sleep, my son"

                                                                ~*~

Abbot Darunia stood and rang a small bell to get attention from the noisy Abbey beasts, he bade them continue eating quietly as he made an announcement, "Everyone, as you know the Otter Crew will be back home in Redwall tonight! So, and I don't want any of you to say a thing if they get early, take them out into Mossflower Woods and keep them distracted until you here the bells for supper," he paused as the door creaked open and the otter Crew came rushing in. They were not as jubilant as most thought they would be, they walked in, heads drooping and rudders dragging on the ground, Skipper of Ottersa walked over to the Abbot and gave his report, "Father Abbot, before ye ask, we came back early to tell this, vermin are abroad in Mossflower," the Abbbey dwellers jumped up in alarm up in alarm some shouting and others getting into arguments (of course these were Guosim shrews) the Abbot had to shout to Skipper to be heard above the noise, "AS YOU WERE SAYING?"

Skipper held up a paw, "One second..."

as Skipper was speaking Abbey bells began ringing the alarm that vermin were abroad, all noise in Cavern Hole stopped. Skipper seized the opportunity and continued, "As I was saying we don't know where they are, but all we know is that they are around, the only proof we have was seeing the burning remains of an otter encampment, it was the Pikehawk's encampment, we knew this because of the burning field, only the Pikehawk's would do that."

Darunia asked, "So none of them were left alive?"

Skipper shook his head, "No, not one was left alive."

On the Southern coast an evil was brewing, this evil would not be vanquished for many years to come. The Darkness, had come to Southsward! Silverfalcon slept contentedly in Shadestrike's paws, she smiled then thought what is your name, the ottes called you Silverfalcon, and their clan name was Pikehawk, I'll call you Pike. Sleep well my son

Chapter four

Two seasons later

Pike walked about beside his adoptive mother, Shadestrike, he knew as mother and as his protectorate from the weasel, Fallut, the one who had tried to kill him whne he was young. Pike stretched his arms up towards Shadestrike saying, "Up, Mama, up!"

Shadestrike lifted him and said, "Oooh, yer getting heavier! Well, you ready to go to Soracal? He wants to ask me if I see anything in the future for the Juskasie, or of anything important in the present far away. Maybe if I dicover it in you, you may become a seer like me."

Pike got a happy expression on his face, "Yay! I gonna be a see'er like Mommy!"

Shadestrike smiled at Pike, "Only if I see it in you dear."

Pike's happy expression vanished in a split second, "What?"

"If I see the abilities of a seer in you I'll train you in the art of being a seer."

Pike snuggled up against Shadestrike, "Oh."

Shadestrike entered Soracal's tent, Pike peeked out and whispered in Shadestrike's ear, "Soracal scares me, and why does he keep calling me Zann?"

"Because, your the Taggerung and the Taggerung's name is always Zann. But I call you Pike."

"Oh."

It was expected that Pike would be scared of Soracal, he only had one eye that he could see through, and that one was an eerie pale green, he had two swords tucked into his belt, a russet colored tunic, and unusually long claws. Soracal was a bilgerat, the descendant of the, if you could call him this, great warlord Cluny the Scourge. He bade Shadestrike to sit down, "So, how comes the Taggerung's growing up?"

Shadestrike, when in Soracal's or any of the Juskasie's(with the exception of Pike) returned to her rasping voice, "Fine, he is doing fine."

"Hmmm, Zann come here!"

Pike hesitated, Shadestrike encouraged him to go further towards Soracal, "Go on, he only wants to examine you."

Soracal reached out and touched Pike's face, he turned the young otter's head from side to side multiple times, after he finished this he looked over Pike's body. Then he looked up and gave his report, "You are doing a great job raising him, he looks strong and feels strong. Overall, he is doing great. Now what do you see in the future for the Juskasie?"

Shadestrike took multiple shells and bones out of a pouch she kept on her belt, she threw them in the air, they hit the ground and she gave her verdict, "These bones represent the Juskasie, theses sticks are the woodlands, this red rock, is the Abbey, this normal rock, is Castle Floret, the shells represent the woodlanders in those areas."

Soracal nodded, "And?"

Shadestrike pointed a longish bone, "That one represents Zann, he will travel to the Castle Floret, in Southsward, there he will face an old enemy of the Juskasie, by then the Castle will have been overrun by our creatures. He will have a tough time getting to his adversary, if he is not to be seen."

Soracal looked at the Taggerung, "He seems to be a little tired."

Shadestrike looked at Pike, he was sleeping peacefully. Soracal asked, "See anything in this present time?"

The seer nodded, "Aye, the creatures of the Abbey have found the traces of the burnt otter camp, and are readying themselves for war."

~*~

Jason had his crew split up into squads, one patroling the walltops, one out in Mossflower looking warning creatures who had not heeded the bells, and searching for more creatures to help the Abbey, another helping make weapon, and the other helping him train the Abbeybeasts in the Art of War, Jason looked at Duschen, who was using a sword as if he was born knowing how to wield i. The Otter Skipper walked over and took out his javelin and blocked a swing that the squirrel was throwing at a pumpkin headed scarecrow, "Good, good, here let me show you how to do a horizontal swing, a little more effectively."

The Otter Chieftain took the sword from the squirrel, and swung in a horizontal motion, the top of the pumpkin went wizzing threw the air, the other half fell to the ground, Jason handed the sword back to Duschen, "There, now you try."

Jason put a new pumpkin o the scarecrow, and took a step back as Duschen swung. The squirrel swung horizontally, cutting the top of the pumpkin off, he the backed up, then jumped forward and chopped the scarecrow in half, drew the sword out and spun, cutting the top of the pumpkin in half and skewered both on his sword, all before it hit the ground. Jason took a step farther back, rubbing his eyes, "Stripe me! How'd you do that? Huh, if you were a mouse, I'd say you was a descendant of Martin 'imself!"

Duschen cleaned his sword and returned it to it's scabbard, he nodded toward Jason in a sign of thanks and walked off, Jason skipped to the side as a crowd of Dibbuns rushed by him, he caught the last one, an ottermaid named Nalion, that was about two seasons old, in his strong paws, "Hold hard there daughter, where you runnin' off to?"

Nalion smiled sweetly into her father's eyes, "Runnin' from Badger Muvver, she said she gonna baff us, I don' wanna get baffed!"

Skipper looked at himself, he was covered in dust and sweat, he looked over at Marah coming his way, "I think I better run to, I'll probably get myself bathed so hard, I'd be the furless wonder!"

Jason sped off, Marah came up panting, remarking to Rim, "Those Dibbuns sure can run!"

Rim nodded, "Aye, I remember doin' the same thing when I was much younger."

"Aye, you and your sister were always the most trouble," she said, then murmured half to herself, "hard to believe now for you, not s'much for Willesh."

Chapter five

thirteen seasons later

Sssssssthunk!, a dagger hit a target dead in the heart, something blurred in front of it and the dagger vanished. a frightened waterat watched in fascinated horror as a falcon-plumage colored otter, clad in a white cloak and tunic, with a long-sleeve chain-mail tunic underneath, jumped into the air, put it's paws over it's head and did an axe-cutter's stroke. It flipped forward twice and landed throwing a sword it had drawn during the flip, into the bush, there was a whirring sound a sharp thunk! the waterat opened his eyes, and looked over to his right, the sword was quivering there and the otter was in front of him! The waterat didn't seem to care, he just merely said, rather impudently: "Who ever taught you to throw a sword? Were you trying to hit me? Arrgh!"

His side was pinned to the tree by the sword, the otter drew a dagger out of the many it had on the cross-belts around it's waist and held it to the rat's throat. It said in a voice hardly above a whisper, "If I was trying to hit you when I threw the sword, you wouldn't be talking! You would have that sword threw your mouth! Who are you?"

The rat truly was terrified now, he spoke, "Rathe son of Doriasoros. My father is the leader of a great horde! He'll kill you if I scream!"

The otter smiled, it was all of his face the rat could see, "Well, I might as well make it so you can't scream," he moved the dagger, "Should I kill you? Or maybe cut out your tongue?"

"Neither!"

The otter looked up, there were at least four-score waterats all with weapons drawn standing over him, he got up, and asked, "Do you know who I am?"

Doriasoros, the rat who had spoken came forward, and kicked the dagger out of the otter's grasp, and asked, "Yes, your dead! Hahahaha!"

All the other rats laughed dutifully along with their chief. The otter replied, "No, your the dead one, if you continue to mock, I am Zann Taggerung Juskasie! And you have signed your death warrant!"

Zann(or Pike as he preferred) took two steps forward(for the Doriasoros had taken the dagger from his throat) and kicked his right foot-paw upward and caught the laughing rat in the chin, closing his mouth hard and breaking the jaw. Pike drew his sword out of the tree and sheathed his dagger(which he had retrieved from the ground) and lopped the rat chief's head off, he began to forge his way forward through the rats, wreaking havoc on any who got in his way. it was true, any who got in the way of the Taggerung, were dead. Just then a large rat came up behind Pike, Pike turned and was lifted bodily up from the ground with his arms pinned to him, the rat grinned and was about to crush Pike when he yelped in pain, Pike had four horns embedded in his tail, and he used them to stab the rat's paw, the rat drew a large axe and started to swing, when he fell, a dagger protruding out of the back of his head where the head and neck met. A white ferret jumped out of the trees and retrieved the dagger, she smiled, "thought you could use some help with that oaf!"

Pike nodded, then turned and began wreaking havoc on the rats once more with the help of the ferret, the rats, being dismayed at the loss of their leader and strongest fighter ran, Pike turned to thank the ferret but she had vanished strange, well she was a great fighter, whoever she was

Pike returned to the Juskasie encampment late at night, only the guards who were on duty were awake, he nodded at them and went into his tent, and immediately after he took off his sword and dagger, he fell asleep. Fire and screams filled his dreams, an otter clan, was being raided by the Juskasie, a two large male otters, who seemed vaguely familiar, were fighting back to against the Juska, he then saw the larger male fighting on his on, six arrows thudded into his back, he fell and a bilgerat came up "Do we take prisoners?" she said, the otter stirred and grabbed one of his swords, in thrust it into the ground saying "I don't!" the battlefield erupted in flame, the otter's last words wer only his to know, "Siiilverfaaalllcoon!!!". Another image came, this time of fifteen otters, five babes, and ten adults, were lined up, Soracal Sie, the Juska leader came up and took one of the babes, a female otter began fighting, Soracal said something to a large fox and fourteen of the Juska brought their hatchets down on the otter's heads. A mouse in armor carrying a wondrous sword came through the flame, and said: "When on final vermin mission you go, find the white one, who aided you, and travel to the Abbey of Mossflower, and know your legacy, and your true self."

Pike awoke with a start, it was morning, and a stoats head was poking through his tentflap, "The chief wants to see you!."

Pike got up and buckled on hsi sword and dagger. He walked through the camp till he came to Soracal's tent, before entering he noticed a weasel glaring at him, it was Anrish's son, Argo. Pike glared ack and entered the tent, inside was Soracal and Shadestrike, Pike sat crosslegged infront of them and waited. Soracal looked up to Pike, "Well? Get going!"

"Chief, you summoned me, I don;t know why, so, why?" asked Pike

"It's for a Mission you must go to the Castle Floret, and kill whoever is in the highest tower, and you must not be sen by any body! Not even our own creatures! Now go!" replied Soracal

After Pike left the tent he was immediately jumped by Argo and his two cronies, Jik a rat and Kij, is twin brother. Pike activated the hidden blades in his vambraces and stabbed Kij up through the sternum, and Jik in the jugular killing them both. Argo drew a sword, as Pike let the bodies slide off the bloodied blades, Argo charged, Pike sidestepped and drew his own blade and cut Argo in the back, who then spun and tried to hit Pike's legs. Pike jumped and brought his sword down into Argo's shoulder, Argo screeched in pain and clutched his shoulder, with Pike's sword still in it, "Why were you trying to kill me?" asked Pike

"Cause I am the rightful Taggerung! Not yo--" He never finished the sentence, Pike's dagger was in his open mouth, "Well, if you were the rightful Taggerung which you weren't, then I am now."

Pike drew his blades out of the lifeless carcass and wiped them and put them in his sheaths,and set out for his first, and last Juska mission


Chapter six

a few months later

Bright torches and lanterns with stained glass around them to change their hues. Snow covered the ground and holly and wreaths adorned the walls and doors. It was a special gift giving celebration that the Abbey put on every leap season. It always gave the Dibbuns something to look forward every year. Inside of Cavern Hole a bright and warm fire blazed merrily. Dibbuns and older creatures were swapping gifts and stories. Abbot Darunia sat with Badger Mother Marah, along with Skipper Jason and Duschen. Duschen was holding a small hardwood box, wrapped brown parchment, he was talking with the three elders occaisionaly looking over to Willesh, who was helping to hand out gifts. he finished talking to the elders and was about to Willesh and ask her his question when the Abbey shook and glass shattered and a large rock rolled across the floor. An arrow followed which was caught by Duschen before it hit Willesh. She untied the note that was attached to it and read it, "Surrender your Abbey or we will take it by force:The Empire. Well who is the Empire?"

Duschen sighed and returned the box to his pocket, and drew his sword and began helping to clear the glass before heaing outside to see what he could find.Once he got out and on to the wall...thud! and arrow hit him from behind in the shoulder with such force it knocked him from the wall and into the waiting paws of multiple armored vermin who quickly carried him off.


~*~


Pike continued his march, it had gotten very dark in Southsward, exactly as if it was an eternal night. He continued, till he came upon a tall cliff. This is gonna be easy. He thought, he deployed the hidden blades in his vabraces adn immediately started climbing. he soon reached the top, and dove into the moat and quickly climbed out and resumed his climb to the top of the castle wall. Once he reached the top of the wall he jumped down into a pile of straw as a vermin guard passed by. he grabbed the unfortunate creature and pull him in then climbed out as the blood trickled slowly down the straw. Pike melted back into the shadows as two more guards went by escorting two prisoners and conversing in low tones, "These two are trouble, they'd be alot easier to transport if that block'eaded stoat was with us! Where did he get to?"

The other shook his head, "I don't know, but let's just ge..."

He fell, a shuriken in his throat, the other looked at his companion and saw a creature in white standing over his corpse. The guard shook, dropping the prisoners lines. He began backing up shaking his head, "No, no, please...Oh gosh! Please don;t kill me!"

He began running but the creature pounced on him plunging his right blade into his neck, slaying him. Pike looked at the prisoners, who stood terrified, he ran over and jumped on them activating both blades, but stopped, for some odd reason, Pike could not bring himself to slay these to woodlanders. They stared at him in fear, he retracted the blades, and drug the two creatures up by their tunic collars and hissed in their faces, "I will spare you, but if you ever saw tell anybody that you saw me, even mention me, I'll hunt you down, and, well, I'll let your imagination take over."

The two terrified woodlanders nodded there heads rapidly. Pike got off them and vanished instantly into the shadows and began climbing up the side of the tower leading to the throne room. When he finally got there he peered in, at least a score of vermin guards were standing facing a creature who was sitting down, who turned out to be an old mouse. Pike dropped down and promptly stabbed the two closest guards, he quickly took out his sword and dagger, and killed two more guards with each, then threw them at two more, 8 down, 12 left to go. Pike dove forward and grabbed one of the creatures spears and rammed it through another, taking his sword and lopping another';s head of, then taking his axe and plunging it into another's shoulder, then tipped him over with a push, still holding the axe. 9 left. The other guards began running for the door but pike hurled the axe above the lock bar and jammed the door. the nine remaining vermin turned and stared at him as he rose wielding two dao swords. He began walking forward, "Who's next? I'll take one, or all at a time! Send out your bravest."

The vermin shoved out two large weasels, a rat, and a stoat. The weasels carried a broadsword each, the rat a scimitar, and the stoat two hatchets. One of the weasels charged but fell as both Pike's dao's penetrated his heart, Pike grabbed his broadsword and hacked off the rat's left fore arm which held the scimitar, spinning the blade again and slit his throat, the other weasel charged and received Pike's broadsword in his brain, then jumping upon the stoat throwing the hatchets from his paws, then lifting him by his head twisted his neck quickly snapping his spine completely and killing him all at once.

Pike stood and dashed forward and cloths-lined two more snapping their necks, and stabbing the other two with hi dual hidden blades out and stabbing them in their necks. He then turned old mouse who had stood up, "You kill them to well, but why would Soracal send one of his one to kill me?"

Pike advance wit his sword drawn, "It's not my mission to kill you directly, but torture you."

"that doesn;t explain why he sent you."

"I know. But I don't care, your not allowed to know."

Pike ran forward but the Old Mouse caught him in the eye with a small knife he had in his sleeve. Pike growled and grabbed the mouse by his chest digging his claws in he slashed the Old Mouse's eyes with his sword then walked over to the window and threw him out.

Pike watched smiling slightly as the mouse was lost to view, he chuckled sinisterly then jumped out the window and caught a gargoyle, he then began climbing down until his paws were firmly on land, he started his journey back to Mossflower.

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