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Brocktree1
July 18th, 2006, 10:02 AM
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Enjoy, Legacy of Luke

“Hey you there, young fellow!”

Luke came to his senses. He had been marching along with the rest of his slave group. Just like everyone there, Luke wasn't thinking of the events taking place around him. He wasn't listening to the birds morning song or looking around at the beautiful sights placed as far as the eye could see. He traveled mindlessly, like a zombie and knew by instinct the guards orders so he never had to think.

“Oh... um yes?” inquired Luke.

“You look like you need a bit of company.” said the short, stout old mouse.

Luke couldn't help but smile at this strangers kindness.

“Yes, thank you.” said the young sturdy mouse.

“My name is Lance. I come from a small isolated island called Sterndum which is quite the opposite of what we call it. It's a free and happy place known to very few ...well...it was at least. All it is now is one big pile of rubble.” Lance looked down and whimpered “ Kotir conquered the island in less than a day and captured some and killed most. Those vermin deposed of my family and kept me because I was apparently just a good worker. Now look at what slavery has reduced me to...skin and bone. Where do you come from and what's your name boy?” asked the talkative mouse.

“ My name is Luke and I have no recollection of where I lived. Although I remember specks of my parents. I also have a locket... I don't know where I got it though.” Luke looked down thinking about the few memories he had.
“What...what happened to you that made you end up here?” asked Lance
Luke started at the ground. “Smoke...fire...screaming.”

-------------------------------
He had to get to camp as fast as he could. While taking a stroll in the woods he happed upon the largest slave line he had ever beheld. It didn't take long for him to realize what must be done. He had to inform the general with utmost haste. He kept on until he saw a familiar sight. Camp Back Worth.
-------------------------------
Everything was completely silent after what Luke had said. Lance was trying to cheer up the poor boy after what horror it seems he had been put through

“Son, cheer up, one day you will be free to do whatever you want. You will
be free to have a family, free to raise them, free to become famous, free to be a warrior, free to have fun, free to enjoy life.” stated Lance.

Luke stared off into space. He believed what Lance said would never happen, but just nodded in response.

“Luke, I hope one day you will...”

BANG!

“Yeough!” screamed Lance

“Stop talking worm! I have to keep you alive not comfortable!” exclaimed a nasty looking rat.

Lance cast a mean glare at the ray, just to be whipped again.

“Stop!” Yelled Luke.

“Wha? Oh you mean stop this?”, retorted the impudent rat and started

whipping Lance crazily ,“ha ha!Stop tis'? Want me to!”

Luke jumped up like a mad beast even though his hands were tied he managed one agile kick with both his feet onto the rat's chest, thus shoving the rat onto the ground.

“Hmp! Stupid mouse, I'll run you through!”

Luke quickly realized what he just did and fell and tripped on accident. It didn't take long for the rat to start butting him with his spear.

“You stupid mouse! I'll kill you for what you did! Slow and painful to!”

The other slaveholders caught on fast and tried to stop the rat.

“Stop that! You know the slave master at Archdam will kill us if we lose even one prisoner!”

“I want to kill him to matey but I don't want to get whipped and starved again!”

Soon the rat calmed down and completely ignored Luke.

“???? that rat...ouch!” cried Luke.

Luke was quickly forced up ,bleeding and bruised by a fat rat.
----------------------
“Right this way Lieutenant”

“Otters! Our scout Breakwave say's they've headed north in this direction!”
A roar from well over two score otter could be heard for miles away.
-----------------------
“What in hell's gates was that?” shouted tubby rat.

“I don't know Deadclaws, but I don't like it... alert the troops, hide the slaves. I think we just might have some trouble.”

------------------------
Meanwhile, on the south end of the slave line.

“Woah! What was that? It sounded close!" Yelled Luke surprised.

“I don't know Luke. It sounded like a twenty score army.”

Luke put his arms in a weird angle and shouted, “What? Twenty score?”

“Perhaps thirty, I've heard bigger yell out.” stated Lance.

Luke jumped up startled, “Thirty? Thirty!Ahhh!”

“Calm down Luke! We're north of mossflower, close to the boarder of good and evil they call it. Hopefully it's an army of goodbeasts."

“Hey you! That mouse that was beaten on the head by Redfang!" shouted tubby rat.

Luke simply looked at the rat with his deep blue eyes.

“Get into line you lazy good for nuthin' not payin' attention worthless slave!”

“He doesn't have to get into line for anything.”

Upon a hill stood an otter with a scimitar in his sheave.

“Wha...a wavedog... go away our I will rip you to pieces.” barked the gluttonous rat.

“You know, your a rather short rat to be ordering anyone around.”

“ The names Deathworm and don't go around calling me short you wavedog!.”

“What? Your to far down, I can't hear you.”

“I'll rip you to shreds!” roared Deathworm

“Hmm, you want to kill me? I see we don't...meet eye to eye on things! Ha!” snickered the otter.

“Oh, soon we will be eye to eye, when I have your head on a platter!” growled Deathworm

The otter prepared his scimitar.

“Come and get some rat...”

Brocktree1
July 18th, 2006, 10:03 AM
Chapter two entitled The cowards, all of em

“Come and get some rat...”

Deathworm charged with all his might, with a rather large sword, at the otter. The otter parried and jumped back surprised at the rats speed. Deathworm kept swinging his sword, and the otter kept parrying with his scimitar. Metal clashed and sparks flew as Deathworms onslaught grew longer.

“He...that otter seems like he isn't having much trouble blocking that rats attacks.” pointed out Lance.

Luke never replyed, he was to much into the battle.“Kill that rat! Show him what it's like to die!”

“Luke! What are you saying? I know we all hate him, but that's vermin talk!” Lance shouted in agape.

“Lance, all of these years that specific rat has been torturing me. I've had him as my slave guard many times because I used to be wild and constantly attempted to escape. Soon, the slavemasters started appoint harsher guards until they found this particular one. He would always beat me up for no reason, I'm glad to see him getting beaten by an otter.” said Luke with hate.

“The otter hasn't even swung his scimitar yet Luke.”

It soon became obvious that the otter was simply toying with Deathworm and apparently the rat didn't see this.

“Wavedog! Why don't you swing your scimitar? Are you truly afraid like the rest of your kind? I am obviously stronger ,faster, and more agile than you. This battle was over when it started!”

“Don't get too cocky rat!”

With that, the otter swung his scimitar into the rats sword, thus propelling the sword into the air and he quickly stuck his scimitar close to the rats neck. All the rat did was smile.

“Congratulations wavedog, one down one score to go....” shot the rat quickly.

“Stop calling me wavedog!” screeched the otter, and he stabbed his scimitar into the rats neck.

“Thank you otter! Thank you!” yelled Lance in admiration.

“Heh, the name's Waveback, nice to meet you, now get out of our way.” said Waveback rudely.

“Our way?” Asked Lance puzzled.

Waveback pointed to a hill to an empty hill to the south.

“Watch.” with that he put his hands to his mouth and whistled.

At first, the hill was desolate, but soon the head of an otter could be seen and following that a few more. In around a half minute the whole hill was covered with gray uniformed otters. It seemed as though it was no longer a hill but a gray blanket.

“Wow...” stated Luke quietly.

Luke took a glance at Lance. His eyes were tearing up and a magnificent smile played on his face.

“Otters! Today we fight to save many a innocent life. There are hundreds of slaves and around a score of guards! Victory is ours!”

0o0o0o0o---


“Run fer' yer' lives!”

A rat had seen the whole episode that just happened.

“What is it mate?” asked an extremely puzzled rat.

“Otters...attack..kill Deathworm...”

A rat who was watching said, “Mate, take a breath what happened?”

“There was a battle on the south end of the line where Deathworm hangs behind everyone just incase something bad is near. An otter came and fought with him and quickly killed him. Not long after....the otter whistled and there were wavedogs everywhere! I dunno' how many...perhaps fourty score o” em.

It took a few seconds for the rats words to soak into his fellow guards but when it did, all the rats cowered.

“Everyone run “fer “yer lives!”

“Everyone! Abandon the slaves let them have what they want! Run!”

Every single rat fled, leaving all of the slaves confused at what was happening.

0o0o0o0o---

“Just over this hill lieutenant Waveback.” claimed Breakwave, the otter.

“Okay, that's enough Breakwave, take these two mice and head back to camp and get everyone to prepare dinner. I'm sure this is an ensured victory. Also, make sure they prepared enough for fifty extra. You've done good Breakwave....you've done good.”, as Breakwave took leave, the lieutenant issued orders to his troops prudently,” Everybeast, this is a simple charge, there should not be a beast injured because we are going to take them by surprise.”

“Breakwaveeeeeeeee!” screamed proudly few score otter as the descended down the hill.

“Everybeast, look! Otters they've come to save us!”

Instead of a hoard of rat's battle cries, cries of freedom rang out around the confused otters and all they could do was sit there and be confused for a while.

“Sir, by your color of uniform, i'd' say you were the captain here.”

It didn't take long for Breakwave's senses to come back.

“Hello, the name is Breakwave young headgehog. What happened to the score of guards?”

“They up and left us. There was a rat who seemed terrified who came frum' that southern hill yall' charged over. He said there were forty score otter coming from the south to kill everybeast here. They completely forgot about us and left.”

“I see.... well we avoided conflict, the bad thing is those vermin are free to kill another day. replied Breakwave, Otters! It seems as though all of the rats fled in fear! Each otter break up into groups of two and accompany one former slave. We head back to camp!”

“Yes, sir!” cried all of the otters as they quickly and efficiently broke up into groups of two and accompanied the former slaves. When everybeast was headed northward to camp Back Worth, the lieutenant quietly remarked, “The cowards, all of em. I knew something like this would of happened. I just hope those rats don't go back to Kotir and alarm Sabreclaw about this little mishap.”

0o0o0o0o-----

Luke proudly took the chains he had grown accustomed to off with the help of one of his saviors, Breakwave.

“Thank you, thank you! I thought that a day like this would never have come!”

“Your welcome mate, whats your name?” inquired Breakwave.

“Luke, and this is Lance, Luke pointed to Lance, who was still stunned that he was free, that captain said that your name was Breakwave, am I right?”

“Of coarse matey, and please stop calling him captain, he's the lieutenant of Back Worth.”

“Back Worth.... is that some sort of settlement?”

“No, just a makeshift camp that we have been living in. We have been there for months, and still we can barely get much further. This is supposedly just the surface of Kotir's realm. I can't imagine what it's like further in. It seems like every time we send otters out on an expedition south, they never come back, or come back insane.” said Breakwave somewhat darkly.

“Insane?” asked Luke stunned.

“Yes, paranoia... they've come rarely talking and when they do talk, they make no sense. We have had no one otter come back the same that they left....listen, you were just freed don't worry about what's not yours to worry about. Just worry about your future.”

“Oh, I see.... I thank you again for saving me.”

The otter smiled, “Your welcome mate, we should be coming up to camp very soon.”

That was the happiest day of Luke's life he had ever had, and it all happened so very fast. He was happy, but in the back of his head it seemed as like his happiness would come at a dear price and he couldn't shake the feeling. As they traveled through the woods Luke tried to think of his future like the otter said, he tried to think of what he must do and what his purpose in life will be. He will become someone and he was determined to do just that.

Brocktree1
July 18th, 2006, 03:16 PM
Chapter 3 entitled- What Price

“mmmm this is great! What do you call it?”

“Eh, Luke, your eating the bowl my dear.”

“Oh, so this is a bowl Mrs. Humblefur? I had heard about these from the older slaves at times. Whats this?” Luke held up a small object with three pointy ends.

“Thats a fork m'dear'.” said Mrs. Humblefur nicely.

“Oh, so this stuff inside of the bowls my food?, Luke tasted it, wow this stuff is really great!”

“Yes, I know all of the soldiers can't wait until I make my famous Humblefur soup!, she stood up onto a table and made a fist than pointed it toward the tent's top, I know my duty in filling these soldiers stomachs! When their hungry I'm there! When they come back from war I'm there!”

Mrs. Humblefur was so in trance with herself that she had forgotten about Luke and a few other guests who just sat there bewildered at the scene she was making.

Luke than stubbornly pointed out, “Eh,Mrs. Humblefur , are you okay? Your acting kind of strange.

At that moment her cheeks went rose red and she got off the table.

“I'm sorry Luke, she said distastefully, I get like that sometimes., than she suddenly had a mood swing and brightened up, I'm proud of my son Cornelius Humblefur the otter warrior, which sometimes gets me in those moods.”

“Aye, something to be very proud about mam'.”

“Lance thank you, the lieutenant ordered that we give seconds to the guests. Do you want some?”
“Yes please Mrs. Humblefur and thank you.”

“How about you Luke, do you want seconds?” , asked Mrs. Humblefur as she poured the ladle into her special soup pot to get Lance's food.

Luke didn't answer, he had taken his old locket out of his pocket and was stareing at it.

“Luke, is something wrong?”

Luke snapped back to reality and replied, “No thank you mam, you know, I'm just wondering if somehow you could open this locket for me? The hinges were sealed shut and I want to know whats inside.” Luke ran his fingers around the sides and felt a bumpy pattern where the locket used to open up.

“Here give it to me.” demanded Mrs. Humblefur.

Luke gently handed her the locket and made sure that it didn't fall. It felt strange to be trusting anybeast with something he held dear.

“On the back... it says to my son Luke.”

“Yes mam Mrs. Humblefur. From that I concluded my name was Luke.”

“Do you not remember your parents?”

“Bits and specks but nothing major. Every time I smell smoke it strangely reminds me of them and memories flood back to me like a tidal wave.”

Humblefur quickly put the locket back into Luke's hands and begun to run out the tent's door yelling, “I'll look at it later Luke! I've got to give Mrs. Tidalwave back one of her books that I've held on....”

After she back she was already out of the door and by the time she got to on no one could make out what she was saying.

“Hmm, what an odd otter, very nice, but odd at that.” remarked a fieldmouse near the back of the tent.


0o0o0o00o------------

“Lieutenant, another expedition band has returned.”

“Did they disobey orders like the last one and go too far in?”

“It seems as though sir, there are only five left of the eleven there was and they have all changed in the same way the rest have.”

“??????... that's the last band we're going to send out.. Cornelius, make each survivor accompany any tent. I suggest you keep one in your mothers. Oh, please tell her that her soup was excellent as always, your dismissed.”

Cornelius saluted his lieutenant and said, “Yes sir! I'm sure she will be most proud lieutenant Waveback!”

o0o000oo0-----------


Beyond the hills the sun had gone down in a most amazing sunset in all it's glory. Luke wasn't accustomed to seeing sunsets because he had lived in a dungeon most of his life. He only saw them when he was transferred between prisons. He just wanted to sleep there instead of in a tent. He was beginning to doze off when he heard footsteps.

“Hello? Who was that?”

“Sorry Luke, it's just me, Mrs. Humblefur. Wait a second... what in the name of fur are you sleeping out here for?”

“I wanted to sleep outside for a change, I hate sleeping indoors.

“March yourself right inside this instant young man!” screamed Mrs. Humblefur

“Why? I'm having the best time I've had in a long time out here.”

“Because if there was an attack on the camp it would defiantly mean the end of your life! Get inside! Now!”

“Okay, stop yelling you'll wake the whole camp up.”

“Oh... Luke I'm sorry, I am never usually in this kind of mood.”

“What's wrong?”

“Nothing you should worry about, now go inside the tent.” Mrs. Humblefur pointed toward the tent and than started toward it herself.

0o0o0o0o0o0----

As Luke was drifting off to sleep he was wondering why Mrs. Humblefur was very angry. He was accustomed being yelled at as it happened to him very often. That was not the thing that worried him. Right before he fell asleep he decided next time she goes off somewhere he would follow him. He had to figure out how he could somehow help her since she had helped him, that is if she even needed help.

0o0o0o0o0o----

The next morning began quite late. The otters never bothered waking up the guests and began their work without hesitation. Luke rubbed the sleep from his eyes and looked outside. The sun was very bright in the sky with no hint of the color orange and all of it was visible. To Luke this meant it was right before midday. He was one of the last guests to wake up and he saw the lieutenant barking out orders to his troops. Luke prompted to help but the lieutenant refused.

“Not today mouse, you were just freed from a life of work. A week or so off and than perhaps. You need to get your strength up to help us anyway mouse.”

“I'm sorry for asking than lieutenant, and the names Luke.”

“I don't really care about your name. Do you think I can be expected to remember everybeasts name? Please go and enjoy life for a week with the guests and get away from me.”

With that, the lieutenant completely ignored Luke and began to bark out some more orders. Luke sighed and began to walk away to explore the woods a bit.

“Luke, come here!”

He looked over to where the noise had come from.

“Luke, I saw what the lieutenant did to you don't worry about it hes like that to everybeast just about.

It was Mrs. Humblefur.
“ Give me your locket. I'll take it to the smithy and we will see what he can do about it.”

“Thanks a whole lot Mrs. Humblefur, said Luke while he handed the locket to the ottermaid, please please don't drop it or anything. I've barely managed to keep it secret for all these years.”

“Don't worry, it's safe with me Luke.” ensured Mrs. Humblefur.

“Mrs. Humblefur, before you go, what's your first name?”

“Bonnet, Luke”

“Bonnet... I like that name.”

As Bonnet took leave, the same feeling that came over Luke the day he came to the camp took over him.

Brocktree1
July 19th, 2006, 10:31 PM
Chapter four entitled- Luke's Lesson

Luke stared up into the night sky. It was filled with hundreds of flickering stars. He had always wondered what those were. Perhaps there was somebeast up there turning them on and off. He also knew he would never know. The logic of his theory was rather dull. It was long after sunset and he knew Mrs. Humblefur would be angry if he never returned. Luke got up and started walking down the hill he was on toward the tent.

O0o0o0o0o----

“Luke...Luke...wake up.”

Luke felt someone shaking him. He had a strange lightheaded feeling on the inside of his head as his eyes became adjusted to the darkness.

“Wha...whoz' there?”

“It's me Lance.. get up now.”

Luke got up like Lance ordered.

“Here take this.” Lance gave him an old looking rusty iron sword.

Luke stared at it a moment before answering. “What do you want me to do with this?”

“I'm going to teach you to fight Luke...”

“What? Why? Nothing bad has happened, we're leaving tomorrow heading north.”

“Exactly my point, come outside and follow me.”

Luke began to follow him, What's he mean his point?

At first it seemed like Lance was heading toward the lieutenant's tent in the middle of the camp, but he took a left turn heading out of the camp. When he got out of the camp he kept on going until he decided to hide behind some heavy brush.

“This should do....”

Lance stood there unarmed as he said, “Luke attack me with your sword with all your might.”

“But..but.. your um...how should I put this...uh.....hmm....old.”

“Luke attack me and lets just see if age has anything to do with it.”

“Alright, here I come.”

Luke began to charge when Lance shouted, “You idiot! Your not supposed to warn your enemy when your going to attack!”

With those words Lance quickly ran over to Luke, crouched, tripped him while at the same time taking the sword from him hand while he was still falling and pointed the blades tip toward Luke's neck.

“Dead.”

Luke simply laid there fascinated by Lance's move. He couldn't get it through his head how Lance, being as old as he is, managed to do that with such grace and skill.

“Get up”, shot Lance as he threw the sword down onto Luke, “Try again.”

What the hell is wrong with Lance's attitude today?, thought Luke as he proceeded to pick up the sword, Usually he is concerned or cheerful.

“What are you waiting for, summer's feast? Attack me ??????!” bellowed Lance.

Luke attacked without warning, only to swing to thin air where Lance once was.

“Oucc!” spat out Luke as Lance quickly swung his fist into Luke's stomach.

Luke was used to being beaten up, but he felt there was a fine line between being beaten up by a buff guard rat than an old mouse. He fell onto the ground trying to recover his breath.

“ Is there something wrong Luke?”

Luke just sat there, I'll show him, he thought.

“Luke, there is no way a little punch in the stomach crippled you that much get up and fight!”

Luke didn't reply.

“I see Luke, your a wuss, you are scared of me and don't want to fight anymore.”

Stop taunting me, thought Luke.

“Luke, you stubborn little rat, your going to end up dead if you don't learn to suck it up, get the hell up an swing.”

Luke, with all his might, shoved his legs upward to stand, and swung with his fist at Lance's face.

“To slow.”

Lance parried Luke's attack with one of his hands while shifting his feet behind Luke. He help on with one hand, tightly to Luke's fist and shoved his other hand onto his elbow and pushed upward hard.

“This is what it feels like when someone is about to break your elbow Luke.”

“Owwww! Lego' of me old mouse!” shouted Luke in pain.

Lance let go of his fist with his right hand, extended it out to where Luke's neck was, grabbed hold of it, and tripped him.

“As you can plainly see age has nothing to do with it Luke.”

“All that to learn a lesson old one?” snapped Luke.

Quickly, Luke extended his leg and tripped Lance right when it seemed as though he was getting over-confident. By the time Lance had hit the ground, Luke was up starring down at him.

All of the sudden without must reason, Lance busted out laughing,“hahateheho! That's the way young un!”

Lance stood up and dusted himself off.

“Now sit, I'll teach you some things that could decide weather you lose the battle or not.”

Luke sat as Lance began showing him ways to defend himself, “Now, if anybeast lets his chest wide open you extend your arm and punch them in the stomach, but make sure that you keep your other hand back to parry just encase it's a trick.”

Luke listened intently to all of the things Lance was teaching him. He still felt like he would play apart in something and that strange feeling will come over him again, but he just shrugged it off and listened to everything Lance had to say.

Brocktree1
July 19th, 2006, 10:32 PM
Chapter five entitled- Patients is the key!

Today was the big day! After two long months of being stationed at Camp Back Worth, it was time to up and leave to the north. It had been three weeks since the slaves had been freed and most of them had become strong enough to make the journey by now. For two weeks Luke had been learning hand to hand lessons and a few tricks with the common sword. Lance had tested him with everything from a dagger to a battle ax and it seemed to Lance he was most adept with the longsword and broadsword.

“Are you ready Luke?” asked Lance.

“Where's Mrs. Humblefur ,Lance? She said that the smithy would open the dang thing today.”

“ I believe Bonnet said she was off helping somebeasts pack the food. I believe by now you should know the way the the food area.”

“That I do Lance.” Luke took off, throwing open the tent's flaps. He made a right and headed toward the lieutenant's tent, but he stoped short at a vertically blue and gold striped tent and went in. He looked around to see if Bonnet was anywhere to be found. There were at least fifteen otters in here and a lot of them looked alike to Luke. Luke was about to call out her name when he heard, “ Luke! Toodleoo! Over here!”

That was of coarse Mrs. Humblefur. He ran over to greet her.

“Mrs. Humblefur, there you are, I wanted to talk to you about the locket.”

“Yes, that's what I was trying to find you for, she pointed to huge gruff looking otter with a patch over his left eye, this is out smithy Jhonus.”

Luke stuck his hand out to greet him, “Nice to meet you Jhonus.” But all he got was a big grunt from the buff otter.

“Jhonus here decided to take time from his busy schedule to open the locket for you.” remarked Bonnet like she chose the words very carefully.

“Well where is it, give me it.” demanded Luke.

“Be patient mouse!, loudly shot Jhonus, I have to actually open it before I give it to you....right?....right!”

“Y-y-y-es Jhonus, you right.” said the timid Luke.

“Good, now let me get to work while you go help nice Mrs. Bonnet with whatever she wants.”

Luke saluted,“Yes sir Mr. Jhonus sir.”

“Oh please, my full name's Jhonus Wadewater Humblefur.” Jhonus said casually.

“What? Bonnet your related to this giant!”

“Why yes Luke, he's my husband.”

After Bonnet's surprising words Luke started drooling to the mouth and was wide eyed.

Luke impolitely pointed to Jhonus “So he's Cornelius Humblefur's father?”

“Yes I am now get away from me while I work you impudent mouse!” screamed Jhonus.

Luke quickly looked away from the intimidating otter and Bonnet accompanied him to the door.

“Your going to have to forgive my husband. He is actually in a rather good mood right now, but doesn't bond well with others, Bonnet looked down and Luke heard her quietly state, that must be why im constantly reminded why I fell in love with him, than without warning she suddenly looked up in the sky and said I love you Jhonus because you were so stubborn! I love that in an otter! To bad our son wasn't as hard headed as you were!”

Luke had become accustomed to these strange mood swings and quietly commented, “You have very strange taste Bonnet.”

“Herm' what you say?”

“Eh... what kind of chores where you thinking of since your husband mentioned the word 'chores'.”

“First, I need you to help me pack all this food, bonnet pointed behind her toward a few hundred crates, than before we leave I'm positive my husband will have your locket open. After you see your locket and our band travels till' nightfall, Bonnet stuck her fingers out and every time she named something she stuck one up, prepare food, clean dishes, clean my husbands weapons, his battle ax, my sons tent.... yes his tent, and finally we can eat and sleep. Any questions?

Luke felt as if his heart was ripped “No, Mrs. Humblefur.”

“Good, than let's get apackin'!”

The remainder of the morning and into the afternoon was grueling. Luke was forced to carry around fifty, eighty pound crates to the center of the camp, along with Bonnet and a few other otters, to distribute evenly among nearly every otter warrior there.

When the chore was done, Bonnet suggested, “Why don't we eat? I'm starving.”

By now Luke had learned to be very patient with other beasts, “Yeah I suppose....”

“Okay, how's bread and cheese sound with water? We don't have cooked food right now. You know I'd like some October ale or some candid chest nuts right now. Perhaps a Chocolate pie sprinkled with all kinds of yummy toppings! I'd also like burly ale and....”

Another strange mood swing. Luke was fed up with these, especially this one. He couldn't help but drool at the mouth and watch her go on and on with food he only had heard of.

*Nearly twenty minutes later*

“Some red wine would be nice and those nice things called potatoes. You know the last time I've had grapes was when our group traveled through a grapevine infested forest. For a while it was fun but than these strange, small mice popped out of nowhere and started to fight us. We were well able to get out of the forest with no casualties and minor damage. I greedily stole some grapes and the rest is history.”

Luke was glad she was finally done talking and was well ready to eat.

“You know judging by the suns position I'd say it's a bit to late to eat, let's just go and check on your locket.”

Luke closed his eyes and said rather agitated, “Fine..”

0o0o0o0o----

“Jhonus where are you m'dear?”

“Over here...” grunted Jhonus.

“ Husband, Luke want's to know if your done opening the locket.”

“I was done with that along time ago, around ten minutes after you left.”

Now, Luke was really agitated.

Hands shaking Luke replied, “Well than sir, can you hand me the locket?”

It seemed like Jhonus completely ignored Luke and told Bonnet, “Are you done packing yet, Bonnet?”

“Yes Jhonus, what we should be worried about is if our son is packed. When it comes to scouting our son is the best, but when it comes to tidiness he is horrible, upkeep as well.”

“I agree, go check on our son and the lockets as good as Luke.”

0o0o0o0o0o0----

A few minutes later on the other side of the camp

“Ahh, here's my sons tent.”

Bonnet and Luke stepped inside to what appeared to be Hellsgates ,but was just an extremely messy room.

“Cornelius why are you always making such a mess? Cornelius.... hello where you you?”

No reply.

“Ohh, I'll check on his desk, he usually leaves a note there when he needs something.” suggested Bonnet.

Bonnet walked over to his desk, which seemed like a million miles away with all of the books, scrolls, and unsurprisingly enough food on the ground. Sure enough a messy old crumpled note was there.

Bonnet skimmed through it and told Luke, “He's gone ahead with a team of scouts to check if it will be safe travel or not. I guess we will have to just clean this whole place up.”

Luke pointed to Bonnet and snapped, “But you...you s-said that we will be cleaning it up after we set camp later on today.”

“Oh.. I did. I guess we are going to have to do it twice in one day. That boy makes messes faster than a cyclone can topple a small house.”

Luke let his arms fall to his sides, “You know Bonnet your a very devoted mother...”

“Let's get to cleaning and packin' essentials up, two hours before we leave at most!”

While they began cleaning Luke finally realized why Bonnet was so strange. She was always busy. She had no time for fun. She took others before herself. Luke liked that about Bonnet and it cheered him up that someone could be so nice.

Nearing the end of cleaning the room, Bonnet was inclined to ask, “You know, I've always wondered why your so....happy. You know since you've been enslaved practically as long as you can remember.”

Luke stopped cleaning for a second or to to think.

“I think in light of recent events, everything seems cheerful and has rubbed off on me. I feel like life couldn't get any better. A friend like you and Lance, realizing I'm free to do mostly whatever I want, free to have a family, free to raise it, free to have fun at times, and free to enjoy life now as it is.”

“Luke, I couldn't have put it any better. Now look, we're done cleaning his tent and packed his things, Bonnet motioned toward two heavily packed bags, let's go see what's in your locket.

“Yeah”

As they came out the tent Luke thought about what as inside that locket, as he had worked so hard to open it. Perhaps it was a note telling why he was taken into slavery. The truth, that's all Luke had ever truly wanted.

Brocktree1
July 20th, 2006, 02:55 PM
Chapter 6 -On the inside PART ONE! TEXT TO LONG

“Haloo' Jhonus!”, no answer.

Bonnet opened the tent flaps going into the smithy, “You know dear you must pack this tent up we are leaving in forty or so minutes.”, still no answer.

“Mrs. Humblefur, my locket's on a table near his anvil, I'll go get it.” said Luke.

“Okay dear you do that, where in this world is my husband?”

Luke walked over to the small wooden table near Jhonus's anvil. He picked up the locket and examined
it. Where the bumpy area on the sides used to be there is now a flat surface with a small opening. He opened the locket.

“Luke, what's inside of it?” asked Bonnet.

Luke stared at it for a few seconds before answering, “Two very small paintings, one of a male mouse and one female with the name Laterose etched right over it.

“Might I see the locket, Luke?

Luke handed Bonnet the green locket.

“Looky here, that male mouse's face looks like yours and the mousemaids eyes and ears have the same color and pattern as yours. These must be your parents Luke.” suggested Bonnet.

“Might be, for all we know they could be my brother and sister, or my aunt and uncle.”

“But on the back it says to my son Luke.”

“Yeah.”

Luke was sorely disappointed. He had done all of that for an answer but only got the faces of two mice that had similar characteristics of him. If they truly were his parents it was nice to know, but why in the world did they give him up? What could compel two parents to give up their own son?

“So, these must be your parents.”

“Perhaps.”

“Here, Bonnet handed the locket back to Luke, keep it safe always, you never know when you might need it or when it could come in handy.”

As Luke took the locket he said, “Thank you Bonnet, for everything, you've helped me so much your a true friend.”

Bonnet smiled, “Your welcome Luke. You can go now, meet Lance. I've got to find my husband and son because we usually travel together.”

“See you later Bonnet!”, and with that Luke was off. He put the locket in a pocket on the habit he was wearing, stormed out the tent flaps, and ran all of the way to the other side of the camp to meet Lance.

0o0o0o0o0o-----

“Lieutenant I've found something!”

“What is it Cornelius?”

“Tracks sir.”

The lieutenant ran over to Cornelius.

“Ay' those are tracks all right. By the look of it their mostly ferret and rat tracks.”

Cornelius wasn't listening to lieutenant Waveback but was staring in horror at something on the ground near them.

“What is it scout, tell me.” demanded Waveback.

“?????? lieutenant it's otter tracks....”

0o0o0o0o0o----

“Lance!”

“Luke are you ready to go?”

Luke glanced at Lance who was sitting on his cot with a bag of food and the old rust iron sword at his side.

“Yes I'm ready.”

“Good, than your bag of food and a small dagger is waiting for you near your cot. Don't forget to roll your cot up, I should do the same to mine now that I think about it, Lance began rolling his cot up, Meet you outside.”

0o0o0o0o0o----

“Lieutenant welcome back to camp.”

Waveback ignored the gate guard and continued walking, with Cornelius to Waveback's tent.

“Sir, what do you purpose we do about those tracks?” questioned Cornelius.

“Nothing, you saw just about how many different sets of tracks there were both little and big. I suggest we pack up the camp as soon as possible. I'm sorry Cornelius, I just won't risk the lives of many otters to save one or two.”

With a grieving face, Cornelius quietly replied, “I understand lieutenant.”

Cornelius caught sight of Luke walking with Lance to the north end of camp, the departure point.

“Excuse me lieutenant there is something I have to ask Luke.” pleaded the scout.

“Excused”

“Luke! Luke!” yelled Cornelius

After Cornelius yelled Luke's name a few times, Luke finally caught on.

“Oh, hey Cornelius what is it?”

“I wanted to ask you, did my mum' clean my tent and pack? You see I was scouting ahea...”

The rest of his words went of track as Luke started, “Yeah, I know Bonnet and I did it.”

“Oh, well thanks Luke see you later.”

“Bye.”

Lance, who had been watching the whole scene remarked, “You know he is a rather spastic beast at times, but at other times he is quiet and reserved.”

“Yeah, his father is quiet and his mother can be....hyper at times.”

“You know his father?” asked Lance.

“Yeah, you know the smithy here? That's him.”

Lance started to drool and went wide eyed, “That huge giant is his father? Bonnet married that giant? Cornelius isn't near as tall as the smithy!”

“His name is Jhonus, but yeah at first sight he looks more like his mother.” replied Luke.

“Agreed....”

0o0o0o0o0o---

Waveback slung his food bag over his back and began walking north. Now was the time to leave, all tents down, and everything packed. At the north end of camp his second in command was waiting for him.

“Lieutenant the whole camp is waiting for your word sir.” said the otter while saluting.

The lieutenant didn't bother to put down his bags and simply shouted, “Get your bags, we take our leave, we're going home!”

Everybeast started out of the former camp.

“Lance, the lieutenant seems different today. He seemed sad to be leaving when everybeast here is delighted to leave.” gossiped Luke.

Lance didn't reply, he just shrugged and followed the crowd.

“Wait a second Lance, do you have any idea where we're headed?”

“River Ridge, it's called that because it stands near a plateau that leads down to a river. It's a very strange sight but one gets used to it. It's the central of everything. The command post, the militia, our individual army's.”

“So I suppose it's where all of the important people are that are against Kotir, responded Luke, You know you've never told me much about your past.”

“Luke that's a subject I'm rather sensitive with. They day I told you as much as I told you was to just tell you where I came from.”

Luke stopped and Lance continued walking on, “He's changed, thought Luke, he has that hard look in his eye when someone is determined. Whatever happened to the seamlessly carefree Lance I knew?

When the whole party of former slaves and otters where out of the camp, Luke looked back.

“Good bye Camp Back Worth...”

0o0o0o0o0o----

“Ahh yes The castle of Kotir is just up ahead.”

A dark castle, spanning thousands of feet lengthwise, loomed ahead.

“Once we get inside of the castle we must tell Sabreclaw about those pesky otters that freed all of those slaves and uh... killed our party ....yes.” said one of the rats who had fled from the scene when the otters showed.

“Yes, Sabreclaw will be very proud of us for telling him what happened.” agreed a nearby ferret.

0o0o0o0o0o----

The rest of the day had gone by swell for the group. There were no tribes of anything to be found and they encountered nobeast.

Waveback saw that the sun was getting close to going down and decided that it was time to make quick camp.

“Breakwave, please announce to everyone we stop here. This is an excellent place to make camp.... oh and make sure to tell them no fires. We are going to always have bread and water for about a week until we get much further north out of danger.”

“Yes sir!, Breakwave stopped and put his hands in the air to signal a halt, the lieutenant has decided to make camp here for today, you mustn't make any fires, and you know the curfew. That is all.”

With not a moment to spare everyone divided apart and started setting up just the essential tents, the lieutenant's tent, the tent where the ottermaids distribute food, and a few huge tents where everybeast slept under.

Luke was setting up his cot when Bonnet came up to him, “Luke you know I need your help.”

“Yes, Mrs. Humblefur I haven't forgotten.”

“Good, come with me than”

Luke and Bonnet spent the rest of the day handing out food, cleaning weapons, and afterward they ate the standard bread and cheese and washed it down with water. They never had to wash the dishes because there wasn't any.

“Well goodnight Luke, time to hit the sack.”

“Goodnight Bonnet.”

0o0o0o0o0o----

“So you fools want to see master Sabreclaw?”

“Yes, stout, take us to him.”

The rats where escorted through a few long corridors until they reached a very tall golden double door.

“Go in master is waiting.”

When the rats pushed the doors it required all of their strenght. When they finally were inside they were greeted by a dark room.

“Why are you here?” Demanded a chilling voice.

At first both rats were reluctant to answer it, but the bigger one shouted out,

“We are slave guards from the prison Archdam. We were given an assignment to meet another group of transferring prisoners from a nearby prison. Everything went rather well for a few days and nights, but one of the other prisons fearfull rats came running by. He was shouting that there was a band of forty score otter coming this way. We fought with all of our might, but in the end the forty score otter prevailed. We are the only known survivors. We have brang' the news and all we ask is that you don't kill us.”

Both rats fell on their knees and pleaded.

“Kill you? Ha! You, the small rat, tell me do you know why other warlords have failed in attempts to conquer?”

“Because..uh.. they were not good?”

“No stupid rat! It's because they all were under the impression they had a huge hoard that could not be stopped. They killed what they pleased even their own soldiers and eventually they died themselves. Do you know why?”

The bigger rat shot out, “Because they had no more soldiers to protect them!”

Brocktree1
July 20th, 2006, 02:56 PM
PART 2!

“That's right. I am different from those stubborn warlords. I don't consider myself 'vermin' as those woodlanders call us. I believe they are the vermin. They are little pests that need to be wiped out. Every single rat or ferret that dies in my name is a big sacrifice to me. Understand?”

“Yes sir Sabreclaw sir!” shouted the rats proudly.

“Now go to the barracks and pick out a decent pair or armor and a weapon, for now you will be stationed here.”

The rats quickly jolted out the door.

“Hmm, right hand.”

“Yes master?” answered a grey furred wolverine that was in the dark

“It's time for a check up on my left hand. Take a band of our best warriors, and go to River Ridge. I want a report of recent events from that otter.”

“Yes sir Sabreclaw, son of Tsarmina Greeneyes, queen of a thousand eyes.”

Yeah, that's it. I had right over the limit. Next few chapters are somewhat close to three posts, although none are....

Brocktree1
July 21st, 2006, 11:57 AM
Chapter 7- River Ridge PART 1

“The ..m....ie...mi...ll..military....reserve!”

“Ha ha ha! You don't even know how to read!”

“Yes I do! I just did there!”

“You only know because you know what it was. You had to read the first part and you caught on!”

Near the entrance to a big stone building, stood two otters. One had a velvet jacket on with green loose pants, while the other one, named Riju Longbound, had a tattered shirt and pants both gray.

“Well why in the world do you want to join this place anyway? Do you really want to die Riju?”

“No I don't Lond, I want to help beasts. Don't worry about it it's not like a snobby beast like you would understand.”

“What did you call me you scum otter? Look at you your in poverty and I.. I'm the son of the richest otter in River Ridge. Get yourself a job.”

“Get yourself a job! I already work in a bar! I'm fourteen seasons old and I see beasts pass out everyday because their wives had just divorced them..or or... they lost their girlfriend, they got into a fight with their wife, or just there in general to get drunk. Look at you, same age, a little shorter than me perhaps but whats that matter if you have copper, silver, and gold stacked to the ceiling! You don't have to work, all I see you do is cause mischief and I've seen you at the bar I work at getting drunk yourself!” screamed an enraged Riju.

“Riju, calm down! Go get yourself killed I don't care.” said Lond as he began to walk away.

Riju looked up at the sign above the old rusty gate leading into River Ridge's military headquarters.

Just one more week of living the life I'm living and I'll be fourteen seasons old. I'll be a grown otter, thought Riju.

Bells rang in the distance from the nearby bell tower. To most normal otters, scratch that, beasts his age that meant it was time to go home and go to bed. To Riju it meant it was time to open the bar and prepare for a long night.

0o0o0o0o----

four hours later

Riju was trying his hardest to concentrate on his job, cleaning everybeasts' beer bottles. Although, as expected everyday someone would bother him.

“Look it's super glass boy!” said a drunken mouse as he rudely pointed toward Riju.

“Wash those glasses! How much do you earn, a quarter of a copper an hour?” questioned a smallish squirrel.

“Quite on the contrary, I make about two copper an hour” stated Riju.

The squirrel retorted, “Wow.. almost enough to buy a loaf of bread if you work the whole night. Oh look at me I'm super beer bottle boy. I wash dishes and make two copper an hour! Hah, little otter I make an average of two silver an hour.”

Riju simply sighed and continued working. There was nothing he could do about it.

O0o0o0----

Around an hour later

Riju by now had gone into a trance, as he liked to call it. The bottles kept rolling in and he kept cleaning. His eyes, half closed, barely paying the slightest attention to what he was doing. It was automatic, get glass, wash, put up, get glass, wash, put up. Usually he stayed in this state for a long time, but something unexpected happened.

“Waiter, I want three beers for my comrades and one for me.”

Comrade, he knew that word in and out. It was usually only mentioned when a soldier of the Northland military referred to his friends in battle.

There are four soldiers not five steps behind me, he thought as he snapped out of his trance.

“That will be ten copper pieces” demanded the bartender there, a lean otter who was rumored to be slightly racist. It's only rumored because he only hired otters.

Riju shot a glance behind him and sure enough four soldiers in gray uniforms seated down, away from the drunks like a respectable beast. There was a black squirrel, a lanky hare, a stout otter, and a small but brawny mouse. Besides all of there differences they all held one certain thing in common. Their eyes. Every soldier he had met had lost the glint in their eyes. He had seen bright recruits go in, and come out experienced soldiers. Trained to kill and protect. For the first season or two they all still held on to that sparkle in their eyes, but everybeast always lost it. Riju knew this would happen if he joined, but it isn't like life would get a lot worst than it already was and he could help people. That's all he wanted. He wanted to grow in ranks and perhaps one day become head of otter operations or even the whole military.

He listened intently to what the soldiers where talking about. Mostly military gossip.

“Have you heard about Ishguard, the new settlement thats very close to Kotir's boarders?”

“Yeah, the whole military is against the idea. The central headquarters signed an agreement with some rich party to create the settlement.”

“Wot wot, what party would that be?”

“As if I knew there are to many of them to even care about. I hope we don't have to rely on parties to fund these kinds of things later on. If we leave it at that do you know how much danger in forming these parties, they all have something against one another. I think our society is becoming a bit to organized for my taste.”

All chat seemed to stop for a minuite or so until the gruff voice of an otter could be heard.

“Hey John, you wife lives here doesn't she? How's she doing? You know how much I loved that pie you had packed.”

“Yeah, when I got back home yesterday I found out she had a little mousemaid waiting for me. It's been so long since I had seen my wife. Nearly half a season. I can't wait until this war is over I'll be able to stay home with her and my four mouselings. Two mouse ,and two mousemaids now.

“Congratz' on all that and stuff' but what about that group o' otters who saved all of those slaves?”

“Huh?”

“What a flippin' lie that is!”

“No no, it's true. The general confirmed that lieutenant Waveback stormed a slave line saving nearly one hundred slaves from a score of vermin.”

“A score... that shows how much Kotir cares about their soldiers, or even their workers, the slaves.

“Wait a moment... where are they now?”

“Headed here I believe, an audible sip of beer could be heard , but I have no idea where they are now. I know they where rescued somewhat close to Kotir.”

“How did news reach here so fast than.”

Nobody made a sound for a moment or two.

“Okay you didn't have to bally' well shrug you could of just said I dunno'.”

There was silence for about ten minutes when he heard a slightly squeaky voice pipe up, “Well I'd better be headed home. The wife is waiting.”

“Me to wot, I'd better hit the sack”

“Okay yall' can leave, Me n' Lockjaw here will stay and drink to our hearts content. C'ya on the morrow, hopefully I won't have a hangover as usual.”

Silence was heard from the two remaining soldiers as the drunks in the background laughed and tried to enjoy their lives.

The soldiers remained there until after all of the drunks had left, even the ones that had passed out.

“You two, it's closing time, please leave.” politely insisted the bartender.

“Later otter, I've got to get done with my drink.”
Right at that moment Riju was done with that days glasses. He proudly smiled and turned around just in time to see the bartender pick the soldier up by his uniform.

“You and your otter friend will leave squirrel.”

“Why don't you pick on me huh bartender?, Piped up the otter, Is it because your scared to pick on someone your own size, or is is because you don't like other kinds of beasts?”

At first Riju thought that the bartender was going to hit the squirrel, but in the end he let go of the squirrel.

“Your a soldier and I don't respect that ..... I don't want to see you two in here for a week.” said the bartender as he backed down.

The bartender turned around and began to walk back into his room he had built as part of the bar.

Riju heard the bartender quickly whisper, “That squirrel ..always causing trouble.”

Riju had to find out what was wrong with the squirrel. The otter did not appear drunk, if any at all, but the squirrel was close to out. He didn't understand why he feeling so strange. Something inside him told him to talk to the otter.

Riju ran out the door and quickly looked left and right. Nothing to the left, but he spotted them to the right. The squirrel was puking and the otter sat there staring at his friends temporary burden.

“Sir, otter sir.”

That quickly got the soldier otters attention, “What is it, did I forget to pay or something?”

“No, I.... I don't know.”

“Are you going to help me or something, can't you see I'm having a bit of trouble?” shot the otter soldier.

Riju quickly ran to the squirrels side and helped him up.

“A bit to late to be out for a soldier ,otter.” stated Riju.

“Nah, my regiment was completely slaughtered. I'm being reposted in Waveback's regiment. By the way the names Shawn Smith , son of Anstien Smith.”

“That's a mighty strange name for an otter.... your whole regiment was slaughtered? What happened?”

“Our so called military commander sent us on a suicide mission. It was a simple checkup on the middle east coast to check if Kotir's forces were attempting to create a settlement of some sort. Of coarse no, I knew it from the start. No beast will ever settle there. All of those tribes of small mice and those crazy squirrels fighting one another. Luckily when we got there we met no other beasts of threat, but on the way back we were ambushed by a few score vermin. Only a few of us managed to escape and crawl out way back here just to be shunned by the commander. He shrugged the whole deal off like it was incidental. You know, an oops my bad type of thing. Now I've been waiting for about three weeks for Waveback's regiment to show up. Nothing....”

Brocktree1
July 21st, 2006, 11:58 AM
Chapter seven part two

“Oh, well my names Riju, and I'm thinking about joining the military. I obviously live life as a poor otter who works as a bottle boy at a bar. I just want that to change.”

“Heh, you think my names strange? How old are you?”

“A week from now I'll be fifteen. Just old enough to join the military.”

“Now I'm not saying anything bad about joining, but I suggest you think good and long about it. I didn't and right when I turned fifteen I gave much of my life away to fending off Kotir's forces. Now I regret that, I wish I could have lived a peaceful life with a family. I'm to far in to quit now.”

“I see, I...”

Riju's words went off trail when Shawn rudely interrupted, “ Theres headquarters, goodbye Riju, I can make it with Lockjaw here, I hope we will talk again someday.”

Riju waved goodbye to Shawn until he went inside of the gates.

Time to go home, thought Riju.

0o0o0o----

Riju lived directly over the bar in a small shack the bartender rented out to him. To pay his rent, the bartender pays him two copper instead of the usual three and a quarter.

When Riju got inside he lit a candle that was sitting on top of a small cot side desk. When he lighted it it illuminated his very small room. A brown cot in the corner, a desk right to the right of it, and a small dresser where he kept his cloths.

Riju laid on his cot and stared up at the ceiling.

Why is a jerk like Lond so wealthy? Why is someone more generous like me live in some small shack with no windows? Should I join the army? What was wrong with that squirrel?, all of these questions buzzed through his head like an annoying bumblebee before he silently drifted off to sleep after the long nights work.

0o0o0o0o---

one week later

“Good morning Riju!”

“Good morning Grauth ”

The bartenders wife, Grauth, was not has 'mean' as her husband. Riju had managed to establish a good friendship with her. She always talked to her in the morning while they were eating and fully supported him joining the military.

“Breakfast is waiting for you on the table Riju.” said Grauth as she pointed to a platter of pancakes.

“Ahh, he doesn't deserve our generosity anymore, he's not a kid, and he's joining the military today.” rudely interjected the bartender, Christian.

“Yes, he is a grown otter now by age standards but it isn't like he has changed much... if any from yesterday .” pointed out Grauth.

“ Aye, whatever wife.”

“You know our son joined the military and now he is a lieutenant of his own regiment! How dare you even talk like that.”

Riju began eating and watched them argue.

“Now he is a military dog. I am sorely disappointed in what he did.” stated Christian.

“Save beasts! Haven't you heard of your sons accomplishments? Why, just a few weeks ago he saved hundreds of slaves from Kotir!” screamed Grauth.

Christian looked down at his platter of pancakes and sighed trying hardest to keep cool.

“ You know, I also hated him even more when he ran away with that ottermaid. We haven't see him since then, you know that! Now look at him, his wife came to ask asking for money a while back with two otters that looked just like him, and he's in the military at that time! We barely even know our grandchildren. He abandoned her and abandoned us. Now for all we know any little otter anywhere could be our grandchildren. Does that not make you sick at what he pulled? He doesn't talk to us and we only hear of his so called accomplishments. He probably failed as a father and joined the military to get away.” argued Christian as he slammed his fist on the table.

Grauth tried her hardest to keep a straight face, but began inevitable began weeping.

“Sir, you mean lieutenant Waveback, he's yalls' son?” inquired Riju

Christian and Grauth both looked at Riju and paid full attention to him.

“ Supposedly his regiment is coming back here to rest and receive orders soon with those slaves.”

Both parents looked at Riju.

“You...you mean our son is... coming back?” they both asked suddenly.

“Aye, I guess that means just that!”

The reactions were not as Riju expected. Instead of cries of happiness, Grauth sat down bawling screaming, “Our sons coming back!”, while at the same time Christian slammed his fist onto the table repeatedly and said, “When I see his face I'll pound it in! He deserves much more... I'll kill him ,the irresponsible otter.”

Riju tried his hardest to make it look like he wasn't there and slipped out the door, “Eh, well got to go see yall' tonight heh'.”

When he was out the door he puff and though, whew close call.

0o0o0o----

“River Ridge ahead!”

More than one hundred yells rang out in the air. They had traveled three weeks without meeting any danger to make it back home safely.

“Lance we did it we made it!”

“That we did Luke...”

Luke smiled proudly at the settlement. It was defiantly a strange one like Lance had said, it was near a plateau that descended down into a river.

When the group got to the enormous gates the lieutenant screamed, “ Open the gates! Lieutenant Waveback's regiment is here!”

At first there was nothing, but soon enough the gates started to open ever slowly. About a half minute or so the gates where wide open and the group marched in.

Luke was downright amazed with the size of the city. He had never been into one before, only seen some from a distance. There were many buildings both brick and wooden.

Many different species of beasts were yelling out greetings like, “Welcome back! Good going Waveback!, and they were screaming at the top of their lungs.

No beast dared get in the way of the whole group as it passed. It went on for a while until the noise started to die down.

“Hello, lieutenant Waveback, welcome back to River Ridge.”

Waveback saluted to the otter who had addressed him and said, “Proud to be back, General Vantel.”

Brocktree1
July 23rd, 2006, 12:03 AM
Chapter eight, Truth and Reuniting

“Wow a nice place you have here General, there are certainly a lot of paintings on the walls.”

“I try.”, snickered general Vantel, “now what is it you wanted to talk to me about lieutenant?”

“I wanted to ask you what do you plan to do with the guests soon? I don't think your solution of sticking one with random beasts in town was a good one” debated Waveback.

“Patience lieutenant it's only very temporary. I'll try to get as many to join the military as I can and the rest can.... do whatever they want... Now, here is a list of new otter recruits I need you to pick up and where there located. Stated general Vantel as he handed the list to Waveback.

Waveback scanned through the list surprised at one particular thing he saw.

“Mum n' pop.” Waveback said to himself.

“What's that lieutenant?” questioned the general.

“Nothing ,sir. I take my leave.”

0o0o0o---

“Riju, are you sure you want to leave for the military? You can stay, you know your the closest thing I have to a son now.”

“No, it's okay Grauth, I'm positive I want to join the military.”

Grauth started to cry over Riju leaving the military. After all, he had lived with them for around 6 seasons now.

“You know Riju, I remember the time I found you. You were living on the street wearing nothing but just some tattered pants, sitting down on the side of an allyway.”

“Let the boy go join our 'other' son! If that's what that otter wants than thats what he can have!” said Christian while he was eating his midday snack.

“How dare you act like that to Riju. I don't understand why you used to care so much for him, now just to live here you make him pay rent and treat him like a stranger! Tell me why!” screamed Grauth in disgust for her husband.

Christian looked at his wife, stared out the ground and sighed.

“Answer me Christian.. every single time we argue about this you shrug it off like it was nothing, do you not care about our son Roland anymore. Please answer me for once.” pleaded Grauth

“I.. I wanted to keep a tighter grip on Riju than I did Roland. Riju was my second chance Grauth. Roland ran off with a maid because he thought he could. I wanted Riju to remain obedient and stay here. I figured than I needed to be harsher on him, show him what it's like to grow up earlier in life. I made him pay to live here two seasons ago when he started helping out using the excuse 'your not my son and to live here you pay'. I did that regardless of weather we ever grew 'close' like you and Riju did. I didn't want to make the same mistake two times...”

Riju was utterly surprised by Christians words. His eyes popped open and he fell upon the couch trying his hardest to take in the words. He had always thought he didn't care about him until this day and was also surprised they considered him their 'son'.

Christian got up and began to walk to the door.

“Riju, if you do leave for the military today, please come visit. I won't be seeing you for a long time.” said Christian as a tear drop rolled down his big cheek.

Right when he was about to open the door to begin his workday, three audible knocks were heard. Christian took a step back in surprise.

Grauth, still in shock by her husbands words, responded, “Open..the door dear.”

Christian ever so slowly turned the handle and pulled the door back. What he saw was not expected, an otter around level hight if not taller, with a blue suit on with badges on his chest. The otter also had a cutlass strapped to his belt.

“Who are you, what do you want?” demanded Christian

A look of despair came over the stranger's face before answering, “I've come to pick up a certain Riju Longbound.”

“Aye, please leave as fast as you can. I hate military beasts like you.”

The stranger quickly picked out who was Riju and motioned for him to come forth. As they were about to leave, Grauth piped up.

“ Ten seasons Roland, ten. Why do you leave so soon?”

The stranger halted and gazed at the ground.

“Grauth what is the meaning of this? This otter isn't our son. He was about a head small than me and much skinnier.” pointed out Christian.

“Is that what you noticed about him Christian? Look up and take a good look at his face. It's yours.”

Sure enough their related, I guess he didn't expect his son to come home taller than him and brawnier, thought Riju.

When Christian looked up at his son, Roland, a great look of sadness and horror came over him.

“Why... why did you leave? That ottermaid, that's why isn't it. Please sit down and talk with us.”

At first Riju thought the otter Roland was just going to walk away, but he obeyed his mothers wishes and sat down in a chair near her, not daring to look at her and Riju sat down on the couch near his adoptive mother. Christian still stood where he was, looking at Roland in disbelief.

“Tell us, where did you and that ottermaid live at?” asked Grauth

“We..... after I left here, we met in the square here by the military headquarters. We talked for a long time before deciding to travel to a little settlement called Noonvale down south. They helped us start as an early couple. After a season of living there I had a nice steady job being the head chef at the cookery. The leader there, I've forgotten his name, was beginning to get into the war that was starting between us, and the formerly dormant Kotir. He was a great strategist and was asked to come up here to make some war plans. He asked anyone who wanted to accompany him up, to accompany him. I was one of the few who decided to help out the wars cause with him, while the rest thought what he and I were doing was wrong. After a season up here, without your knowing apparently, I was givin the offer to become a captain in a regiment. At first I declined the offer, but when I came back to Noonvale, no one greeted me like a friend. They all said I had betrayed them by helping the military. You see, the leader there only stayed here for a few days while I stayed a little longer than a season. I don't know why he left, but I guessed they didn't need him anymore..... anyway, when I got back from helping them successfully win a few skirmishes, I had found out my wife left about a month after I. No one would tell me why , all they would do was shrug. After about a week of being treated this way I left Noonvale for good and came back here to accept the offer by General Vantel.”

It took a half minute for Roland's words to soak in.

Christian piped up, “A few seasons back, an ottermaid named Riverwind came to our doorstep asking for money to help her two little otters. We would of declined her the money and shelter if we hadn't of seen your face in both. She stayed for about a month, helping us out around the house. Needless to say she was growing on your mother, but I still had my doubts about what you did. I tried to talk to 'your' children as often as I could but they liked Grauth more. One day she left without warning, never seen her since.”

By this time Roland had his hands cupped on his face and was crying silently. It seemed as though realization hit him harder than a badger would hit a vermin while carrying bloodwrath.

“So... that's why she left. Not in hate for me, but because she didn't want to burden me with two unplanned otters. What are their names?”

“ One was an otter and another an ottermaid. The otter was named Roland after you and the maid was named Lillypad. I called her Lilly because I didn't like the end of the name but you know... even after all of this proof Christian still wouldn't accept them as his grandchildren.”

“Aye, and that I regret... I realize now how stubborn I can be sometimes.”

After a minute of watching Roland weep piteously, he finally let go of his face and said, “Mother, father... I'm sorry for what I did. I'm sorry for not saying goodbye. I'm sorry for leaving you. The price there was paid. I'm burdened with the fact that I have a son and daughter I've never met and I know I deserve every bit of it. Will you forgive me?”

Both parents replied at the same time, “ We forgive.”

Roland smiled, “You know, I'll come here everyday to catch up on times with you two. We have many new recruits that need training and I'm positive my regiment won't be leaving so soon. I'm sorry, but I have to go admit Riju here into the military. I'll be back in a few hours.”

Grauth hugged Roland so hard it almost crushed his ribs. She didn't want to let go of him ever again, but in the end she had to. He gave his father a firm handshake while Grauth hugged Riju.

Brocktree1
July 23rd, 2006, 12:04 AM
Chapter eight part 2

Before both otters went out the door, Christian shot, “Riju, when you come back meet me, I have something to show you.”

Riju nodded and they left.


0o0o0o----

“Open the gates!”

“Sorry, we don't open any gate for a ten foot tall hooded figure, or any vermin.”

“Open the gates you stereotyping vile stupid' excuse for a gateguard!”

“Must I repeat myself I...”

The gate guards voice trailed away as a firm hand was placed on his shoulder.

“Don't worry, there here to discuss battle plans against Kotir.”

“Oh..oh...uh yes, sir general sir, yew' two down there open the gates for the visitors!”

0o0o0o----

Who in hellsgates is that? ,thought Luke as he looked at the stunningly tall eleven foot or so hooded figure. The figure had a big, shiny red cape on his back and every bit of his fur was covered in cloth. Not far behind the tall figure were four ferrets, two foxes, and the general.

Everybeast around was looking at the odd sight. Apparently the general was good friends with the tall figure. All the other guests did was follow the two beasts and stare at everybeast they passed by.

Luke didn't have time to follow these strange beasts. He was staying in the Humblefur 'Plantation' as they called it. It was just a big house right outside of River Ridge but it was the nicest place Luke has ever been. Luke ,Lance, and a few other former slaves where there with him. Apparently, Bonnets father and mother are one of the richest otters in River Ridge. They own a big store that sells everything from weapons to food.

Bonnet had asked Luke to go to the store to get some meat so they could cook a feast that night. Luke felt obliged and quickly set off. The meeting was between a group that called themselves the 'Council of Noonvale' and the generals negotiators. Apparently the general wants to stop them from building another settlement somewhat close to Kotir called 'Ishguard'.

When Luke got there he fiddled around with the keys leading into the back door.

Eh, now which one did she say... was it the one with the three loops or two. I'll just try both, thought Luke.

He tried the golden two loop one first and to no avail it didn't work. He than tried the three loop one and the green door creaked open.

Hmm.... okay now, Luke pulled out a big list of things to get, the meats in the meat isle an..

Luke heard a voice, “Eh...who's there?”

“Me!”, responded somebeasts voice right behind Luke.

Luke turned around to be confronted by a mouse slightly taller than him and quite a bit more chubby. The mouse had a black mask on to conceal his face.

“Uh...hello and who might you be?” asked Luke.

“I could ask you the same question nosy rosy!” echoed another voice besides the masked figures.

Luke was becoming confused, “Wait a moment, this is a robbery! I uh...think.”

“I daresay! Please don't use that vile term! Call me The Prince of Mousetheives if you will please.”, replied the polite thief, “oh and these here beasts are my band. Together we travel everywhere taking from these rich folks and giving the goods to beasts who actually need it.”

“Oh..uh....nice...to meet you.....prince?

Brocktree1
July 23rd, 2006, 03:54 PM
Chapter nine- Prince of Mousethieves

There was nothing but awkward silence for nearly a minute. Luke had been in a fighting stance Lance had told him about while the prince sat there somewhat amused.

“ Well young mouse, please stand down and let us take what we please.” demanded the prince.

“No, put all the goods down and get out of here... now!” screamed Luke as he was getting ready to strike.

“ I see..... well than we have never been caught a day in our lives before. You see we as a team are amazed. How did you catch us?” asked the prince as he reached into his back pocket.

Luke decided to lie, “I heard a noise and came to investigate. Now leave, this is your last warning.”

“It's only fair that I warn ye' as well. You see your surrounded by my team. Their excellent thieves and have much experience hiding. Actually there are five behind you and three behind me. We aren't stupid as well, we all have dirks.”

Luke wanted to beat the guts out of the thieving mouse, but was forced to stand down. “How is there eight people besides us here thief.?”

The mouse gestured his hand sort of like a salute in the front of him. “ It's prince of thieves you nitwit, call me that and perhaps I'll answer. I won't be downgraded that far.”

Luke gritted his teeth, “Okay, prince of thieves, how could there be eight other people here besides us if I only heard one and I can only see you?”

“Aye, stupid question. Did you not hear me? I said that they were masters of the dark and stealth. They are all around us. You know what... answer to this stupid mouse boys!”

Big roars were heard all throughout the dark store coming from all directions.

“Oh yeah, forgot to mention team b! There on the other side of the store getting the copper and what not!”

Luke noticed that the thief was sure of himself and took his hand away from his back pocket. This was the time to strike! He jumped off his feet and swung his feet as hard as he could at the mouse's legs. The prince wasn't paying attention and was tripped by Luke.

“Oomph! Okay young mouse it's timed you learn a lesson. No beast interfere with this I'll teach this mouse some manners!”

Luke was already back in his fighting stance ready to parry any blow the thief would throw.

“You look confident. Let's fight mouse to mouse hand to hand eh?” said the prince as he threw his dirk aside, “It's used for emergencies only.”

Luke took the moment to throw a punch at the prince's face only to be greeted by air.

“Ha to slow!” yelled the prince as he hit Luke's stomach with his fist.

Luke fell back onto the ground dazed as he stared at the dark ceiling. That blow was much stronger than Lance had ever hit him, even the rat that once tortured Luke's life.

“You hurt? I'll hit softer next time....”

Laughter was heard in the background after the prince said those words. Luke staggered upward still holding his stomach.

“Your going down....”

When the prince started busting up with laughter Luke took his hand off his stomach and punched as hard as he could into the chubby mouse's stomach which resulted in the prince falling backward has Luke had.

“How does it feel... thief.”

It took a while for the mouse to recover his breath.

“Feels like a wake up call, I won't underestimate you anymore. You do hit hard for a beast of your seasons.”

Luke, still in a fighting stance, replied, “I was a slave for many seasons, that toughened me up.”

The thief's lip went slanted as he said “Oh, Sorry than didn't know. I do feel sorry for you but obviously we must finish this fight. Sorry for hitting you.”

“Apologi....” That was all Luke was able to say because the mouse threw a fast one into his face.

Luke took the pain in and kicked at the arm of the mouse as he jumped back. Adrenaline pumped through both beasts as the duked it out blow after blow. The fight lasted around ten minutes consistently after that everything seemed to slow down and both beasts became weak.

“You thieving scum... your... going down.” Luke said when he threw a very weak punch at the thief.

The thief didn't both to block it as it hit him and he stumbled back a few inches than collapsed onto the ground. “Okay okay, I'm the first to fall you win we leave. You know your a very talented mouse. I've not seen many who could hold their own against me for so long..much less beat me. I'll just take this whole ordeal as a sure fire sign that I'm getting to old for this.”

Luke sat on the ground breathing hard. “ Age doesn't matter mouse. How old are you?”

“ Forty or so seasons matey.”

A snicker was heard in the background.

“Shut your gap Logtooth! I'll beat ye up when we get home!”

Luke smiled at the thief. “You might be a robber, but your very nice. My teacher is in his fifties just about and I rarely lay even a paw on him. Age doesn't matter like I said.”

“What is this mouses name?” inquired the thief

“Lance of Sterndum.”

The thief jumped back in agape. “The Lance? The legendary mouse who killed Tsarmina before her son took over? The one who fought in the battle of Brookridge? The one who fought along side I back when we still had Kotir under control in the woodlands? The one who disappeared into thin air one day along with his family on that island? No wonder your so skilled boy, to have a teacher like that.”

It took a few moments for the words to soak in. “You mean to tell me Lance is a former warrior?”

“Not just any warrior, he killed Tsarmina like I said. Once she took over the woodlands she had a big party type thing in which her whole army and a few forced woodlanders were to attend to cook. Lance disguised himself as a mousemaiden to get close to Tsarmina. She caught onto the plot easily and there was a big sword fight between Tsarmina and Lance. Let me tell you it was stunning. Sparks flew everywhere, they were jumping off tables and stuff, I'm one for action. After nearly twenty minutes Lance finally managed to get the upper claw and struck Tsarmina in the gut. As everyone watched dumbfounded at the suffering Tsarmina on the ground, she was dieing a very slow and painful death as she deserved, her son Sabreclaw snuck' up on Lance and stabbed him with his dagger. Me and a few woodlanders managed to carry Lance to safety while the new 'king' had many search parties dispatched to find us. We were trapped in a hole with a small rabbit for days and he fed us and what not. When Sabreclaw thought we had got away he quickly reassembled the teams he sent out and peace went throughout the Northlands for five seasons. Lance was the mouse that bought us those fragile five seasons. In that time we were able to create a few settlements and the city of River Ridge, he is the greatest mouse alive in my book. After the whole ordeal he settled back down to his island of Stern...whatever you called it. Haven't heard from his since.

Luke sat there bewildered at what he had just heard. Lance was no simple mouse from some island, he was a hero. Why hadn't he heard of this before?

“Prince, why does everybeast believe that Tsarmina was killed by her son? If what you say is true that means Sabreclaw was loyal to his mother.” pointed out Luke.

“Listen this obviously isn't a good place to talk. Tomorrow meet me at the east gate in the Red Moon tavern. Because you defeated me in combat I'll tell you everything you need to know, I'll be sitting down at a table with a blue sapphire necklace on my neck that I made myself.”

Luke nodded while the Prince took his leave with the rest of his group.

It took a while for Luke to utterly realize what he had just done, he came into the Humblefur's store to get some ingredients and vittles but was encountered by a robber who claimed he was the 'Prince of Thieves' and fought him. Luke won and stopped the thief from robbing the store while he is to meet the robber that wanted to rob the store Tomorrow because he defeated him to find out more about Lance's past.

Hmm, I live an odd life, that I do. Thought Luke while his head was somewhat dazed. Now to get that food....

Brocktree1
July 24th, 2006, 12:57 PM
Chapter 10- events leading up to the party

“Finally, the meeting is ready to begin!” said Mrs. Humblefur as she and a few other maidens stepped back from the long table of vittles out before them, “What are we missing....”

A few maidens nearly fell on the ground and yelled, “We're missing something!”

Silence filled the room as Mrs. Humblefur sat in deep thought, “I believe...we're missing.... the guests of coarse!”

Everybeast in the room sighed in relief.

“Mrs. Twinki, please go escort the Noonvalers from the Bread and Ale inn just south of here and Bella go get the General at his headquarters.” commanded Bonnet. Both beasts quickly got on their tasks with no questions asked.

Everyother beast began resting and getting ready for the big meeting in an hour while some simply went home.

Luke was resting himself when Mrs. Humblefur rudely got his attention.

“Luke, stand to attention! There is a meeting about to take place and all you can do it sit there and do nothing! We don't want to look bad to those Noonvalers.”

“Sorry Bonnet, why are we having this meeting anyway?”

“We want them to stop building their settlement of Ishguard because it's much to close to Kotirs boarders. If they do, Kotir would have all the reason to capture them and enslave them. Kotir could also threaten the life of every single beast in Noonvale and all would be lost for them because the council would not risk anything in our country for the noonvalers.”

“I see.” replied Luke quietly.

“Now, go help somebeast do something!”

0o0o0o0----

“Christian why did you want to see me?”

“Patience Riju. There is something I want to show you before you go to that meeting with my son.... your... brother.”

Riju was stunned at the way Christian was acting, “Yes, sir.”

“Now, I know you remember when I started taking money away from you for 'rent'.”

“Yes, sir I do.”

“Well, even then I thought of you as family. I just didn't show it.” said Christian as he opened a secret compartment in his and Grauths bedroom Riju never noticed.

Inside there were hundreds of silver coins and a few golden ones. Riju stared in amazement at the money his eyes beheld.

“What's this Christian?”

“This is the 'rent' Riju, I took the money away from you to save it up so you didn't spend it all.”

Now Riju realized how much Christian cared for him. In the past six seasons he had thought Christian was an ill tempered old otter who didn't like him one bit.

Christian placed a firm hand on Riju's shoulder. “Use this money wisely, take what you only need. This stash can last seasons if used correctly. By this I don't mean don't work for money, but since you are in the military you already have a future seemingly planned out for you. Sit down, I have a story to tell you.”

Riju obeyed obediently and sat in an old wooden rocking chair that creaked when rocked while Christian sat down on his bed.

“Around fifteen seasons back, before River Ridge was even a thought, before the military was formed, before Sabreclaw took over his mother's realm, Mossflower was still in our rule. I was one of the lead defenders in charge of something called the otter guard. It was no orderly military regiment like the long patrol once was, or my sons regiment. We fought for honor, glory, and to get our southern lands back. We didn't report to no 'higher power' like in the military... I should continue with my story before I drift away onto other subjects... anyway there was one mouse who went by the name of Lance. This mouse was a great warrior, surpassed by no beast he ever fought. He was the one who ended up killing Tsarmina, not some team of hares like the council wants you to believe. The reason I hate the military so much is because they fill you with lies, mostly that specific one. They gave away the location of Lance's island to Kotir because Lance would not join them. I believe that somehow in someway Kotir has ties with the general. He has sent many regiments to their deaths to simply say... check up on a settlement that was supposedly being built or..or.. to patrol. That monster of a general sent my sons regiment out to be killed months ago. I remember seeing the surprise on his face when Roland came back with all of you slaves.

“You were in the otter guard? I thought they were ambushed by a few score vermin a long time ago.”

Christian stood up and took his shirt off revealing a huge slanted scar on his back from left shoulder to right hip. “I was the only one who got away....”

Riju stood in transfixed horror at the scar. It was a very deep gash that curved in like an arch and was a few inches apart.

Christian quickly put his shirt back on and stated, “ Ha! That mace did hurt like hell. I already married Grauth six seasons back and it had been nearly five since the last I saw her. When I came home a little otter opened the door and was throughly scared of me. At first I thought my wife might have moved without informing me, but when I saw my wife pick the little otter up and kiss me I quickly realized what was going on.”

“That was Roland wasn't it?”

“Aye, I vowed to Grauth to stay and help raise him”, Christian paused for a moment, “Sooner or later the military was formed and I was asked to join and of coarse I refused. By then Roland was eight seasons old... Ha I keep getting off the story here... Anyway I never joined the military and when Roland was sixteen seasons old, guess what he did.”

“He ran away with that maiden.” Quickly answered Riju.

“Yes....”

Both otters were silent looking at one another.

Suddenly Christian piped up, “Ha! Now that I think about it Roland was a head shorter than me, now look at im'! Taller and Brawnier than his old otter. Anyway, after a few seasons of grief me and Grauth found you and raised you as best as we could from your age of nine. For some reason I didn't want to show you or my wife I had grown attached to you and treated you badly at times, I'm sorry.

“Why did you tell me this... father?”

At the mention of the word father Christian seemed to flinch and a tear dropped down his cheek.

“You are our son in our eyes and hopefully in yours, you deserve to know everything about us. I sort of went off track with what I wanted to say in the first place, but all is good. Now, I ask of you to keep an eye on the general. If he does something suspicious please tell Roland. I've never told him I was in the otter guard or I met him when he was four seasons old. He thinks that I had known him my whole life for his whole life. I do believe it would be hard for him to take in.... I keep getting off track, once again I'm sorry.

It seemed to Riju, Christian trusted him more than his own wife to be revealing such feelings to him.

A barely audible knock was heard on the door downstairs. Both otters went to go see who it was. When
Christian opened to door he found himself looking up at Roland.

“Hello father, I've come to get Riju.”

“Riju, go, goodbye. I'll see you both tonight.”

0o0o0o0----

Roland and Riju were walking down the road. They had never talked much before, mostly about Riju's starting position in the military. Every once in a while Roland noticed prolonged glances at him from Riju. He himself wondered why his parents had taken Riju in.

“Thank you for bringing me to a meeting Roland.”

“Ha, your welcome Riju, the general said I could bring a guest so I chose you.”

“I'm honored sir.” replied Riju.

When both otters got to the 'Humblefur Plantation' they were instantly greeted by a mediam sized Ottermaid.

“Oh! Lieutenant Waveback! Welcome to the Noonvale meeting! Oh it's so nice to see you again.”

“Same here Mrs. Humblefur”, replied Roland.

The ottermaid quickly escorted them to their seats and began to greet the other guests with a mouse that was somewhat tall.

The lieutenant was seated next to the general while Riju was seated next to the lieutenant.

Food was served to the beasts while they waited for the Noonvalers to show.

Riju nudged Roland, “Why are we eating right at this moment?”

“Top negotiation tactics young otter. We eat before they show up so we can spend the whole time trying to get those Noonvalers to stop building that confounded settlement while they enjoy eating.” Quickly replied a hare that was seated right in front of Riju, “We might have a glass of wine and what not, but don't get your hopes up young otter whatsyourname.”

“My names Riju, whats yours?”

The hare pointed to his ears with a paw, “Names self explainable ol' chap I'm lieutenant Longears from the hare regiment of the military.”

When everyone was done eating idle chit chat heard around the table while mosts beasts plates were exchanged with glasses of ale or water.

“Shh the Noonvale party is coming!” screamed the otter that was called Mrs. Humblefur.

Everybeast hushed in respective silence as the door slowly creaked open.

0o0o0o0----

Luke gulped. That feeling of dread that had come over him a few weeks back was back. The feeling that the price was soon to be paid. He brushed the feeling aside as he sat down on a small table with Cornelius Humblefur and his father.

“Done helping mum greet the guests I suppose?” asked Cornelius

“Yes I am Cornelius. When do you suppose those Noonvalers will show? Just now there exchanging plates for glasses of water and some kind of ale.”

“I dunno I don't care either.” simply said Cornelius.

Luke sighed and rested his head on the table. He was beginning to doze off when somebeast shouted, “ Shh the Noonvale party is coming!”

Luke slowly got up rubbing his eyes.

The door began to open making a strange creeping sound. Nearly a score of beasts flooded in lead by an old looking mouse. The general got up and bowed respectively toward the elder mouse.

“Welcome to River Ridge Urran Voh of Noonvale.”

Brocktree1
July 29th, 2006, 09:35 PM
Chapter 11 Noonvale Meeting

“Welcome to River Ridge Urran Voh of Noonvale.”

The mouse Vantel said this to was old and fragile looking. He wore a bright green robe and a neatly polished and decorated cane. He had a small hunch in his back and was supported by a golden furred mouse.

The general stared in amazement at this odd spectacle, as so many others in the building.

“Thank you Vantel, this is a good friend of mine's son, said the grey mouse as he motioned toward the golden mouse. “We get those stares often so please try your hardest to pay attention to the matter at hand.”

By than the general had snapped back to reality and addressed the whole Noonvale party, “Welcome all Noonvalers! My name is Vantel, general of the River Ridge military. I run all of the regiments. We weren't expecting so many beasts, so please the one's who are here strictly for the meeting sit down at the empty spots on the table, the rest find a seat anywhere. The mansion is owned by one of our richest Rider River citizens so please show courtesy and respect. The owner wanted me to point that out to you.”

With that eight beasts sat down at the main table in the middle of the room while twelve others found seats on other tables. The golden furred mouse sat down next to Luke.

Luke stared in wonder at the young mouse as he asked, “Wh.... where do you come from? What's your name? Oh oh, I'm sorry. The name is Luke here.”

When the mouse turned toward Luke his eyes stood out more than his fur. They were blue with golden spot all about the pupil.

“ Oh, hello Luke, I am Rolando Vescan Concorna, but people around my village call me Rollo. I'm from the eastern continent... or my father is anyway. I cannot talk much, I want to listen to the meeting.”

Luke nodded in turn and paid full attention to the meeting.

“Now, before we begin the meeting, please help yourselves to a most wondrous feast.” said Vantel as he snapped his fingers.

The kitchen doors burst open and out came many maids of all races including a peaceful ferret. The first few maids had a big platter which they all seated a few feet apart on the main table. The rest of the maids brought slightly smaller platters for the secluded Noonvalers.

Mrs. Humblefur had left the table a while back and returned with a warm smile, “Here young mouse, I hope you enjoy it.”, she said as she placed the platter on the table for Rollo.

“Thank you mam,” replied Rollo politely.

The River Ridge citizens watched the Noonvalers eat. No River Ridger cared because they all were full themselves.

Luke took note of where the Noonvalers were. There was one badger, two otters, two brawny mice, Urran, a mousemaid that looked like she could be his wife, and a hare. The two mice where seated next to Urran and the other mousemaid. One was golden furred, which to Luke meant he was related to Rollo, and the other was brown furred and had a very serious look on his face. The badger was a few seats over sitting by the otter who looked peaceful. Around the room there was a mousemaid with two little ones, a infant son and a teen daughter that had an uncanning resemblance to her mother who was a very beautiful mouse in Luke's opinion. There was Rollo, a table with a hare and with who appeared to be her son. A few mice were seated in a secluded table eating.

After about twenty minutes all of the Noonvalers where done eating and a glass of wine was offered to the adults in which every beast objected to.

Urran looked up at the general with haggard eyes, “I'm ready to hear what you have to say Vantel”

“Thank you Urran, now the reason we called you here was to address the issue regarding your settlement Ishguard. Everybeast in the military and in the council of River Ridge feels like your doing the wrong thing. You see we want to protect us and our allies against Kotir so how does building a settlement near enemy territory help us at all?”

Urran sighed, “We Noonvalers have very strong ties with many of the tribes around the area unlike you. They have all agreed in helping us build the settlement and fend off against any Kotir attack. As much as I despise combat, I must do what's right for the whole world.”

One of the military lieutenants interrupted, “and building a settlement near Kotir's boarders is going to do...what?”

Urran Voh sighed and responded, “After we're done building we will raise a very large army. One large enough to take down Kotir. Unlike River Ridge, we will be close enough and not worn out by the time we got halfway there. This would also host as a rest stop for missions near Kotir, such as your attacks. All of us hope that you have our backs and this and when the time comes help us attack and destroy Kotir once and for all.”

Vantel seemed hasty and impatient in his reply, “No, we cannot allow you to kill so many beasts, the sheer idea of what your doing. One attack from Kotir is all it takes.”

“We will have thousands of beasts on our si...”

“No you will not, the military will not give there support! The only credit you Noonvalers have is the battle of Marshank.”

The badger stood up and banged his fists on the table nearly breaking it, “What about your credit Vantel? Sending many regiments to their deaths!”

The badger looked ready to strangle Vantel right there and two military beasts unsheathed their swords in response to the badger's action. All the while Vantel remained completely calm and stared into Urran's eyes.

“Listen either Noonvale halts in building the settlement or the military withdraws it's support, ally ship and you will go on our list of enemies. Choose...now.”

Urran Voh sat down disgusted with the general at what he was trying to pull and stared off into space.

The brown brawny mouse stood up and shouted, “Go to hellsgates otter! We won't stop for nothing, nothing, nothing!”

“Calm down Martin, well general it seems as though this short meeting is over. If you won't give support than we take our leave.” stated Urran.

As the Noonvalers got up the general stared into Urran's eyes once again , “You are such a fool Urran, you don't understand do you. Either you stop construction or you die.”

Urran stared in horror at the general.

“That's right, every Noonvaler here will die. As we speak the little group of slaves you saved is in a house down a few blocks. If you don't stop the construction they will all die. All that is needed is my signal and the hidden crossbows aimed toward that mouse Martin, the golden furred one, and the badger will be shot and they will die. You will have to watch all of your precious Noonvalers die right in front of you, than you will be tortured and shot. The military gets what they want when they want it no matter the cost. Any beast and I mean any beast that talks in this room, even beasts part of River Ridge will be shot. Do you want that Urran? Everybeast in this room is now your sole responsibility. Please sit down, we have all the time in the world to talk now.”

Brocktree1
July 30th, 2006, 09:50 PM
Chapter 12 ,part 1, A Dire Situation

The room went quiet.

Nothing could be heard. Not even a paw tapping or a beer glass sliding. Everybeast understood the situation they were in.

Urran stared transfixed straight ahead, motionless like a zombie.

Luke couldn't believe what he heard. One of the beasts he considered a hero, a beast he wanted to grow up to be like, threatening every single beast in the room like that. It was pure madness.

“But Urran, of course you know we might have all day but I'm not willing to wait that long.” said Vantel as he drew a dagger from his sheath connected to his waist.

Urran opened his mouth to speak, but seemed to have trouble talking. “W...Wh....Wh...Why Vantel? The council of River Ridge will have your head you..... ???????.”

The general seemed to find that funny and smirked, “ Once again Urran you show how foolish you are, the council agreed to this. I suggested it and the council accepted it faster than the blink of an eye.”

Urran seemed to slump in his chair and stared at the ground in deep thought.

0o0o0o----

Riju glared at the general disgusted. Why would the military go so low as to threaten the lives of the very beasts they protect just to stop some ally from building a settlement. No, it was all a lie. The general wasn't really threatening their lives. He was tricking Urran into surrendering. Yes, that was it.

0o0o0o0----

Lieutenant Waveback was never so scared in his life. Waveback believed that it was an empty threat. There were no beasts even aiming at the two mice and the badger, but the general's smirk seemed so sure, so certain. The ???? beast was right there. He could kill him now and end the whole mess, but surely if the general is telling the truth about the council they will have his head! It depended on what was more worth it, people he once knew or himself.

0o0o0o----

Minutes passed by like a forgotten tomb being covered by sand in a desert. Every second that passed by seemed like an eternity. The smirk on Vantel's face, Urran as stiff as a board. Everybeast sat in suspense, more awake than they had ever been in their lives, reality banging them across the head with a hammer.

Vantel started to skillfully twiddle his dagger in his hand, flipping it through the gaps of his fingers to the next. Everybeasts gaze was off of Urran and onto the dagger. Sweat pored down their face and their throat was as tight as a knot while they watched Vantel flip the dagger through the gaps of his fingers than toss it to his opposite hand.

A small voice was heard, “Stop it....stop it.”

Vantel momentarily quit twiddling his dagger and looked toward the badger. “What did you say?”

The badger looked up, her eyes as red as the setting sun. “I said, stop it!” The badger stood and grabbed the chair about to throw it at the general.

Luke saw something appear in the side of his eye and he looked toward it. Nothing, he saw nothing. When Luke looked back at the badger he nearly fell out of his chair. The badger was still standing, still holding the chair above her head. Blood.. blood began dripping from her mouth and soon more disgustingly from her eyes. She dropped the chair and fell to her knees, while Vantel began laughing. A bolt from a crossbow was lodged in her gut.

The peaceful looking otter franticly rushed to the badger's aide. He pulled the bolt out of the badgers gut and began wrapping her with bands. Everybeast in the room knew the otters efforts where in vain. Anybeast shot in the gut died a sure and painful death.

A ferret, who came literally out of nowhere, grabbed the otter and pulled him to his face.

“Get in yer seat, this badgers dun fer' she shoulda' listened to Vantel.”

The otter was thrust into his seat but quickly shot up and ran over to the badger silently, but his face showed urgency.

“Didn't ye'r ear' wavedog?” said the ferret as he drew his long dirk.

“Stop it ferret! Can't you see he's deaf?” screamed Rollo.

The ferret stared at Rollo.

“Well than, if he can't hear us he'll be taught a lesson in pain so he can understand. You there ,stupid ferret, bring this otter into the kitchen with a couple of other mercenaries and beat this otter until he loses three teeth, got it?”

The ferret smiled at Vantel, “Yes sir, it'll be my pleasure.” The ferret retreated to the back room with his dirk at the otters neck.

Vantel glared at Rollo and remarked, “Yet another impudent mouse disobeying my orders.”

The vile otter stood up and walked slowly over to Rollo. He licked his dagger and his eyes started becoming bright red like the badgers.

Bloodwrath. It consumes the soul. Any beast could have it and they supposedly aren't responsible for their actions. This particular otter was different. He still toddled ever slowly toward the golden furred mouse, every step he took echoed throughout the room.

Vantel lifted his dagger above Rollo and started to swing it, as if attacking an enemy right over Rollo's head. Rollo wasn't cowardly and he stared right into Vantel's eyes and a look of hate appeared on his face.

After a while the otter stopped and a confused look on his face appeared. “Why is there no screaming from the kitchen? No laughing from the vermin?” ,indeed no sound was heard from the kitchen, “Well, somebeast go look!”

A rat near the kitchen to the door replied, “ I will sir!” , and departed.

Vantel waited staring straight into the door for nearly a minute.

“Nothing. Nothing still, what in hells gates is going on.”

“I don't know you tell me general.” replied a deep male voice.

Two mice who had been in the corner, who had hoods on, stood up and began to casually walk toward the general..

I know that voice, thought Luke.

“Who are you?” inquired Vantel, “If you get any closer my hidden cross bowers will shoot.”

The hooded figure laughed, “ You mean the ones who where given the specially poisoned drinks? Yeah.”

“What.... Deadclaw, Snakebite... are you asleep?”

Two rat's who had been hiding behind curtains near the entrance to the hallway suddenly fell from their hiding place and ploped to the ground with glazed over eyes.

“They had been drinking? The fools....” remarked Vantel.

The mouse Martin caught on quick, “What's this Vantel? All you have left are three mercenaries and yourself.”

“I have eight armed beasts in the kitchen mouse.”

The kitchen door was kicked open and out came a hooded squirrel and a few otters. “ Oh Vantel you mean these deadbeasts?” The squirrel threw out the ferret who had a few wounds in the neck.

“Your outnumbered about twenty to four. Odds, odds, odds Vantel.” retorted an otter.

Vantel casually gazed into the masked squirrels eye's. “I see. It looks like some beast got the better of me. Who was it?”

“T'was me military scum, Gonff the Prince of Mousethieves.”

The hooded figure opposite of the one who had been talking lifted his hood to reveal the same exact mouse Luke had fought, except the only change was that this time his mask was off.

“I'll remember your face Gonff. Next time we meet you will be at my mercy.” Vantel quickly look off toward the window . A few beasts who had been paying attention quickly scattered to the window to stop the otter.

The otter emotionlessly stabbed one of the beasts, a squirrel, blocking his way and jumped right through the window, breaking the glass.

Chaos consumed the room.

“Hurry that squirrel needs medical attention!”

“After that otter!”

“What do we do with these beasts?”

“The badger is dieing what do we do?”

Beasts ran around the room and out like a busy bumblebee hive.

“Luke...”

Luke turned around to find the hooded figure countering him, he lifted his hood to reveal the mouse Luke knew dearly.

“Lance? How did you know about this?”

“My good friend Gonff told me. He sort of served in a few wars I was in.”

The mouse Gonff came up to Luke, “Looks like our little meeting is canceled eh? Heh, I'm sorry I wasn't originally planning to make it to our meeting. I just figured Lance would tell you in time.”

“You go by Lance now huh?”

The older golden furred mouse stood behind Lance with his arms folded and a face of stone.

“Everybeast seems to be on my back today... yes Kotigi I do, as I have for a long time.”

Kotigi's hard face disappeared quickly as he hugged Lance, which was an awkward moment. “What in hells gates did they do to your fur?”

“This must be the millionth time I've said this today, it was dyed.” replied Lance.

“By who.”

“Not now, please Kotigi, I've had a rough day.”

“No, now, I've been waiting for word from you for nearly sixteen seasons. What happened to your wife and Vurgen?”

Lance winced at the mention of the name. “ Please we will talk later.”

Kotigi lowered his head but soon lifted it and changed the subject, “What of the otter, Vantel? Should we just let him go?”

A voice was heard right behind Kotigi, “No, the ??????? is going to die for what he pulled today.”

Luke stuttered, “Lieutenant? I thought you where apart of the military.”

Kotigi sneered, “So after you left Noonvale you rejoined the military Roland?”

The lieutenant sighed and nodded his head slowly.

Kotigi looked disgusted with Roland, “ Well, your not coming back to Noonvale anytime soon. Since it seems like your against the military now.”

Urran came striding up. “ He is an outcast now. If the council of River Ridge truly agreed for this to take place, than that means he is under our care now regardless of what he did. I suppose he will have to face her when he comes to Noonvale with us..”

Roland looked up, “Her... I thought she had left Noonvale.”

Brocktree1
July 30th, 2006, 09:51 PM
Chapter 12 part 2

“She did at one time, to find you. She came to this town for some time with her two little ones and stayed with your parents correct? When she left she headed straight back to Noonvale to raise the two otters.”

“You mean I'll get to meet my son and daughter...”

“Yes Roland... Kotigi go get Martin, and assemble all of the Noonvalers and the few beasts who might come with us. We must get out of River Ridge.”

0o0o0----

“Will they be back soon? I want to hug Riju one more time before he leaves to go off on his military adventures.”

“Hmmpf, I'm afraid the military will harden him up a bit to much like Roland.”

“Oh shut up Christian.”

“Don't tell me to..”

His voice was cut off by three fast taps on the door.

“I'll answer it!” screamed Grauth.

When Grauth opened the door Roland quickly started talking.

“Mother, some very bad things happened and me and Riju are leaving. I'm so sorry we have to go and this is happening so fast, but soon the Noonvalers will be leaving and we have to go with them.”

Grauth was stunned, she tried to comprehend what was going on.

“Mother, if you wish to see us, please go to Noonvale and seek us out. Riju isn't here with me he's with the party, I have to go I'm so sorry bye.”

Roland took off down the street and turned toward to town exit, and all the while Grauth stood in her doorway still staring straight ahead.

“What just happened?”

0o0o0---

“Hurry Cornelius your slowing all of us down!”

Cornelius wasn't used to running as much as his father, but because of the situation they where in his adrenaline began pumping and he quickly caught up with him.

“Where's mom?” asked Cornelius as he dodged a tree branch.

“She left with another group, headed south, right after the meeting ended. We should catch up to them in an hour or two. Only a few beasts stayed behind to get their loved ones and such.”

0o0o0----

Urran could go no further. He had reached his limit. In his young days he had been a healthy lad and one of the best runners in Noonvale. His age had caught up with him many seasons back and it seems to obtain a heavier grip every season.

Urran nudged Martin, who had been running along him to make sure he was fine.

“Martin, lad, tell everybeast we rest here. I don't believe that River Ridge will be sending out a scouting party any time soon. Please take care of the camp, I need to sleep.”

Urran suddenly passed out. Martin reacted quickly and caught him.

They knew it... they knew such a journey would wear Urran out, thought Martin.

“Everybeast listen up and listen good. We have a long day tomorrow so Urran has decided to make camp here so we could have plenty of rest to journey. We should fear no scouting parties tonight, the military has lost some of it's important figures today and just like any beast could not recoil so fast when they lose a finger, or a hand. However, unlike any beast, they will send one, just not tonight.”

Many beasts at the camp laid down sleeping bags and right away drifted off into slumber.

0o0o0---

Martin gently lowered Urran's head into his lap . Urran was growing so old and beasts can live for only so long. Martin deeply feared for his safety, but tried not to show it in front of his wife, Rose.

“I see he's fallen asleep.”

“Yes Rose It seems he has. Any news on the other group, are they nearing here?” questioned Martin

“Oh course there isn't any news. What are they going to do, send some sort of scout ahead.” replied Rose

A rustle of brush was heard which made Rose jump a bit. An otter came running over to where Rose stood and saluted.

“Mam, I'm Cornelius, scout. I've ran ahead to tell you that in approximately ten minutes the second group will arrive.” , and with that Cornelius fell to his knees and started panting heavily.

“Wow... thank you Cornelius for the news. You could get some sleep, we will be traveling all day tomorrow.”

Cornelius waved his hand back in reply and laid on the ground where he stood and in half a minute began snoring.

“You where right Rose, a scout.” said Martin as he snickered.

“Yes, how ironic. You stay here with father while I go sleep with the kids, goodnight hun.”

Martin smiled, “Does it look like I have a choice?”

0o0o0o----

Luke gazed at the stars as he had done many times before. Their mystery had always made Luke wonder. He frequently found himself asking questions like, where do we come from? If where we go when we die is either the Dark Forest or Hells gates, than where do we come from?

Luke was laying near Mrs. Humblefur who had traveled been with Luke since they left her mother's house. Bonnet was fast asleep and seemed to have no care in the world, not that she didn't of course.

I wish I was like that, thought Luke, well I'd best get some sleep, a big day ahead of me tomorrow.

Brocktree1
July 31st, 2006, 12:05 PM
Chapter 13, A good day's march

Luke opened his eyes. What he expected to see was the blue sky and a few clouds, but what greeted him was... white. He sat up and looked straight ahead. There where no beasts or trees, just white nothingness. Luke was wearing a black habit he had never put on, much less seen in his life before.

“Hello.”

Luke looked up startled. He was standing up and right in front of him perhaps ten feet away ,there stood on the inviable ground ,a lone, male, black squirrel covered in scars from head to toe. Luke didn't even want to know what it might look like under his shirt.

“Your a bit jumpy you know, Luke.”

Luke jumped back at the mention of his name, “How'd you know my name? I've never met you in my life.”

“Apparently so my slow friend.” retorted the squirrel.

Luke felt insulted, “That makes no sense, you make no sense.”

The squirrel chuckled and lifted up the long sleeve that covered his arm. Luke expected to see numerous scars, but instead there where some sort of symbols engraved into his arm, which sickened Luke.

The squirrel edged closer to Luke, holding his arm out.

“What are you doing, don't get any closer to me.” demanded Luke.

“Why is it because of my arm? Why are you frightened of an arm?”

Luke was lost for words, “Uh..well. Um.”

The squirrel busted out laughing, “Haha! This is just a dream how could I harm you?”

Luke stared unsure at the squirrel.

The squirrel covered his arm with his sleeve again. “Be seeing you, you can wake up now. Your not ready.”

All at once, the squirrel disappeared.

“Ready for what?” ,no answer, “READY FOR WHAT?”

“We're about to break camp that's what!”

One second Luke was in the white place, the next he was back where he was supposed to be, on the ground,sweating , with one hand holding on to his covers for dear life.

“Did you just wake up from a nightmare boy? You started to scream when I told you to get up and get ready for the day.” said Mrs. Humblefur while she picked up her blue bags.

“Oh sorry Mrs. Humblefur I was having a rather bad dream.”

“Apology excepted, now get up afore' that Urran and Martin leaves us behind.”

Luke jumped up, grabed his covers and rolled them up, threw them in his bag, lifted his bad up to his shoulder, and with a thumbs up sign said, “Ready.”

Mrs. Humblefur forced a smile, “Yes Luke yer' funny.”

Luke's face drooped and he sighed, “Let's... let's get goin.”

Mrs. Humblefur was already fifty feet away and screamed, “ I second that!”

0o0o0o----

“You let all of those Noonvalers get away?”

“Shut up, you worthless excuse for a wolverine! It's your fault for not backing me up.”

“Whatever you say Vantel, I suppose Kotir will have to just attack Noonvale now.”

“?????? I really do hate it when your right Vain, the military council won't like the fact they got away and it'll take a while to gain my former glory.” said Vantel.

“Master will be so disappointed in you Vantel.” sneered Vain.

Vantel moaned, “He will kill me.”

“If your lucky enough.”

0o0o0o----

Riju had been trudging along, following the rest of the group, when the hare he had met at the meeting, lieutenant Longears seemed to appear out of nowhere.

“Hey, need somebeast to talk to, wot! No one here seems to want to talk to me and I'm going flipping insane!”

Riju looked up at the hare, “ Well you could improve your social status around here by taking your military uniform off.”

“Well then I'd be jolly well naked ,wot!”

Riju smiled, “You don't have any other clothes do you.”

“Well um.. no.”

“I'll ask Roland, next time I see him, if he has any other spare clothes besides the ones he has on.”

The hate bounced up and down gratefully, “ Top hole old chap, thanks a million!”

They walked for a while in silence until the Hare piped up again, “You know I'm trying my hardest to figure out the answer, but it does not make sense at all why Vantel would pull....that. I've known the blighter since he entered the military and especially when he passed me up, wouldn't let me forget it donchaknow? The way he walked up to that golden furred mouse, the way he stabbed that squirrel and jumped out of the window, and his eyes... bloodwrath. I don't see how he was controlling it.”

Riju thought for a moment, “Well, many things don't make sense, the council we trusted so much allowing him to assassinate Urran. I'm sort of glad I... we got out of there.”

Longears started mumbling to himself, “All those seasons going up in the military just to run away from it all. The council betrayed their own allies, which seems like they wouldn't care if they killed their dogs.”

0o0o0----

“Lance, wait up!” screamed Luke.

Lance had been near the front of the whole group talking to the golden furred mouse Kotigi.

When Luke caught up to Lance he asked, “ Please tell me more about your past. Who is Vurgen, please why do you never answer me.

Without warning Kotigi swung his fist out, hit Luke right in the jaw and yelled, “Shut up you impudent fool!”

Luke stumbled back, he was getting used to being punched again. Lance didn't come to Luke's rescue, instead he walked straight ahead like nothing happened.

Luke decided it was time to just give up on learning Lances past. If he wasn't willing to say anything, why probe him further? Kotigi seemed to have Lance's back very well. Luke wondered who Kotigi was to Lance, obviously they are very close... there it is again, my urge to know everything.

“Old Kotigi giving you problems mate? Since it seems Lance won't tell you anything I'd be obliged to tell you everything.”

Luke turned around and saw Gonff with a big smile on his face.

“I thought our little meeting was canceled.” quoted Luke.

“Well I'll talk to you about it tomorrow for sure. I have some catching up to do with my Noonvale friends.”

0o0o0o---

The whole group had traveled most of the day and dusk was beginning to set in. Martin and Urran had not talked all day.

“I'm sorry for the little problem I caused last night. I'm not prone to passing out.”

“I know Urran.” replied Martin

“How's my grandson doing? I haven't had time to see the little tyke!”

“He's doing very good Urran.” said Martin, his arms folded.

“I'm sorry for making Rose come along on our trip. I didn't know she was pregnant when we left... just wanted to get that out of my chest, it's been bothering me for the past few months. Has it been hard on you two?” inquired Urran

Martin sighed, “She didn't tell me until it was plainly obvious and it's been a little bit of a hassle, but nothing we can't handle.”

Urran smiled, “Than good, make camp here I'm ready to rest. I don't think that they're sending out a killing squad or search party to find us.”

Martin was lying, it had been extremely hard at first to take care of the little mouse. Now Rose mostly has taken care of his son since the incident at River Ridge.

0o0o0---

Soon the camp was fast asleep. Unlike yesterdays sleep, todays was much more peaceful for every beast.

Brocktree1
August 1st, 2006, 08:56 PM
Chapter 14- Dark Horizons

The next day began without a hitch. Everybeast was up and leaving while the sun was still peaking out of the horizon.

Martin and Urran where in the front, as always, debating on what paths to take and such.

“We shouldn't take the caverns, it might be shorter but it's defiantly more dangerous.”

“Nonsence, Urran your the one who got us lost for days in the dense part of the caverns when we could of gotten through in perhaps a day or two.”

Urran frowned, “You should learn to respect your elders, not bath in their mistakes.”

Martin opened his mouth to protest, but decided against it. There was no getting through to Urran, only Rose, his daughter could. Martin bowed respectfully to Urran and started to walk back toward where Rose was while Urran continued to lead the line. He found Rose talking to her mother, Aryah.

“Rose.”

“Yes Martin?”

“I need you to convince your father to take the forest instead of the caverns.”

Rose smiled, “Gladly, I don't want to wander around aimlessly like last time and this time we have many... guests. Will you watch after the baby please?”

Martin gritted his teeth, “Alright please, hurry.”

Rose walked slowly over to her father at the front and pretended like she wasn't their for a particular reason and walked along side him. After a while Urran spoke.

“Rose I havn't talked to you in some time. I see your busy with the baby.”

Rose responded quickly, “As always father.”

“When we get back to Noonvale I can't wait to spend more time with him.”

Rose nodded her head and changed the subject, “ That's good. I was wondering if you were planning to take the caverns or continue through the forest.”

Urrans nose twitched as he caught up to what Rose was trying to do, “ The caverns, there is no other way. If River Ridge does send a patrol and they take the caverns they'll be able to go straight under the mountain and beat us to the rivers.

Rose shot back, “Not if we don't take the rivers. Remember that makeshift path that was being built about ten seasons back? You might not as it was quite a long time ago. Well, now it's been done for nearly a season and they're making improvements on it. They'll let us pass and no beast else.

Urran hesitated, “Fine, we shall take the forest!”

Rose jumped up with glee and ran right back over to Martin.

“My father has decided to take the forest, eh dear why are you holding the baby by his legs and he's crawling on your head.”

Martin, who had been having trouble with the troublemaker since Rose left, handed the baby to Rose. “He's a fighter, he'll grow up big and strong, like his sister.”

“Don't you mean you father?”

“No I don't Acacia.”

Acacia was Rose's and Martin's daughter. She was born about twelve seasons back and was quite the fighter, like her father.

Martin smiled and Acacia returned her fathers smile.

0o0o0----

“Tell me, about his past please. If I know about it I'll be one step closer to understanding him.”

“What don't you understand about him Luke?” asked Gonff.

“At first he seemed like he was my friend, but lately he's been avoiding me. I don't know why, especially ever since Kotigi decided to come out of nowhere.”

“Do you hate Kotigi Luke?”

Luke gazed into Gonff eyes, “No I don't. I have no reason to. I don't know anything about the mouse and all I have to go on is a punch in the face. I'd regret it if I say back things about him and it turns out he had a bad past and such.”

“Well than, I deem you truth worthy. Please while I'm telling the story don't talk, you might make me miss a few details. Wait until after the story to ask any questions.”

Luke continued to walk alongside Gonff silently.

“Lance comes from an island to the east.. Sterndum I think they called it. He left his island to come assist the woodlanders against Tsarmina. Many times she made plans or tried to trick us, but with Lance's help most times the woodlanders prevailed. In the end, however, Tsarmina set up a campaign all throughout Mossflower. She slowly yet surely ended up killing most woodlanders, who had lost their heart by then. So few stayed behind, and Tsarmina had that party I told you about and he fought Tsarmina to the last and won himself. After the battle was over Lance was nearly dead and I saved him from death by bringing him north and finding a healer. We stayed in a woodlanders house for a few weeks and one day he had gone. He left a note stating that he went home to Sterndum, and I was happy for him. After our little duel I made it my mission to see Lance once again which I did early the next day. I told him what the military was up to and we got together about twenty beasts, including my little team, and you know the rest. Anyway he told me what had happened to him while on the island. One day it was attacked by Sabreclaw and his army. It was destroyed in under a day. Sabreclaw killed Lance's wife right in front of him and took his son away. Lance told me he wanted to die right then but Sabreclaw could tell how much he was suffering and took him into slavery instead. I know what your going to ask, who is Kotigi, they're brothers. You can ask questions now.”

Luke's eyes where wide in horror as he mutter to himself, “ I'm sorry Lance.... I didn't know.”

“We're all sorry for something Luke.”

“ Gonff how are they brothers? Lance's fur is brown while Kotigi's is golden.”

“Aye that tis, ever heard of dye?”

Luke shook his head left to right.

“Dye is something you can make to change the color of anything. If you poor say white dye on green grass, the grass will grow green until new grass grows which is in lances case. He did have golden fur but brown dye was probably poured on his golden fur every six or so months.” stated Gonff.

Luke nodded understandingly, he now knew why Lance was so sad all of the time.

“Gonff I also must ask you. Does he want to kill Sabreclaw? Does he want revenge?”

Gonff put on the most serious face before replying, “Don't know, would you?”

0o0o0----

“Master Helo, my informants tell me there is a group of beasts heading into our woods.”

Helo opened his eyes, “Well than, it's about time some beasts did let's say we go greet them when they get a little bit further into the forest. I know my warriors have been itching for combat. I want you to go back and take note of about how many warriors there might be, Scrum.”

Scrum bowed respectfully, “Master I've taken care of that. Two beasts lead the group, an old mouse and a younger one who had battle hardened eyes. There are approximately ten otters, fifteen mice, one very lanky hare, and very few squirrels perhaps three. Nothing else, oh Helo the unforgiving.”

Helo smirked wickedly, “Excellent work Scrum, wake my warriors from the barracks, tell them all to meet in the middle square. We will attack tonight.”

Scrum yet again bowed and walked out of the commander's courters they where in. He had served many seasons as a loyal servant to Helo, but lately Helo was having problems... coping with reality. It was believed he was becoming sick and wouldn't be able to survive much longer. During these times in any Juska, the warriors try to gain the leaders respect the most because the one with the most respect usually becomes the leader when the leader dies. Scrum despised those sort of beasts mostly because he knew he, being a scout, would never be able to become the leader. Not that he would want it anyway. Helo was a greatrat who had started his own Juska, the Juska Wrath, around fifteen seasons back and since then it's prospered in a number of ways.

Scrum entered the barracks, his velvet cape nearly catching in the door.

“Listen all you worm and warriors! Helo wants every single beast here to meet in the middle square now. That means drop your bottles of grog, get your weapons and armor, and meet in the middle square you vermin!” said Scrum right to the point. He rapidly get out of the doors way as many vermin, who had already had their weapons and armor on, flooded out the door.

What fools, do they all really believe they have a great chance at becoming leader? If some normal Juska beast becomes leader I'm leaving the tribe, good and gone, thought Scrum.

0o0o0----

The darker side of the forest loomed ahead, seemingly wanting to take hold of the group of Noonvalers and never letting go.

“Martin, if anything bad happens it's your fault.” joked Urran.

“Urran you are the nervous one.” retorted Martin.

“Seriously I don't have a good feeling at all about this.”

Martin laughed, “Nothing bad will happen Urran. Don't worry many warriors are here, not to mention me!”

Urran looked at Martin, “Stop being cocky, I just hope that we will make it out of the forest.”

“We will! The only danger around here is the wildcat Sabreclaw, other than that no beasts have enough fighting force to kill few score warriors.”

“We'll see.”

Brocktree1
August 2nd, 2006, 03:18 PM
Chapter 15- Ambush Galore

As they got closer to the forest, it grew darker despite the fact it was broad daylight. Martin's attention was fixed right into the forest.

'Send the warriors and scouts first before the maids'

Martin was feeling awkwardly tired all of the sudden.

“Send....warriors..scouts...first.”

Urran raised a brow, “Is something wrong? You are acting strange. Martin are you sleepy?”

Martin continued gazing into the forest, his eyes at a half droop. He opened his mouth to talk but wasn't able to control what he was saying.

“Urran, we must send the warriors and the scouts first. We could survey the forest and send a few scouts back later on to guide them to us if it's safe.”

Urran realized something was wrong with Martin then. He was talking at a much deeper tone than usual and his comical side was completely gone. It seemed as though he just had a major mood swing. Martins pupils where dim, gray, they completely changed color.

“Martin what in the name of the Dark Forest is wrong, tell me!” demanded Urran.

“The maids mustn't go into the dark forest with us. The maids mustn't go into the dark forest with us.” repeated Martin.

Urran's eye twitched, “Okay fine, if your so worried why did you want to go there in the first place.”

Martin never answered, but stared ahead, a shadow below his eyes.

0o0o0----

“How goes the take-over Ivy?”

“I'm playing the warrior like a puppet master Helo, Greatrat warlord, the unforgiving. They're always easy to take control of when they're in a good mood or not truly aware of danger.”

Helo chuckled wickedly, “ I can presume you've told him to leave the maidens behind. There no threat in war and can be quite a news spreader. Once we kill all of their husbands and sons they'll go around the countryside telling everybeast just how vile our Juska is. How about you make the warrior mouse kill the other, older one?”

“Alas, I cannot. It would take a seer many generations to grasp a hold of ones body. I am barely in his mind, soothing him. If he somehow became aware that a beast such as myself were controlling his speech, he could easily cancel out my magic.”

Helo decided it was a good time to complement his seer, “ You are the best seer in any Juska. Perhaps better than your mother.”

Ivy was not one to give into complements easily, “No, my mother was much better than me and still is. I'm sure you wouldn't be ignorant of her power?”

Helo felt a deep, lone scar on his chest up to his neck, “No... no, I'm not.”

Ivy nodded her head, “Please let me concentrate, the warrior is becoming aware.”

0o0o0o----

Stop, thought Martin.

No, the voice answered.

Stop it!

No, screamed the voice even louder

“Get out of my head!”

“Martin what in hellsgates is wrong?” screamed Urran

Martin inhaled fast, the voice was gone.

“No..nothing.”

0o0o----

“Ahh!”

Helo looked up surprised. “Ivy what happened?”

Ivy, a hand to her head, replied, “The warrior eluded me. He has become aware.”

Helo gritted his teeth and stormed out of the seers tent without a word. He had already prepped his warriors for battle as they where waiting for him right outside the Juska camp in a very long line facing the camp.

Each warrior bowed respectfully to their leader as he passed.

“I'll make this brief as we must hurry. To attack these 'intruders' we will pick them off one by one. I need the element of surprise so I'll be taking mostly newcomers and young warriors into battle to see if any are worth anything. Warriors that have been with us under two months, and young warriors under eighteen seasons step forth.

Around fifty beasts stepped forward while the rest remained back.

“Beasts standing back, you are dismissed. We might need you for more important battles.”

Many sighs where heard as they slowly stumbled back to camp. Helo looked at the remaining beasts.

“Anybeast worth a ???? with a bow step forth.”

Around ten beasts neared Helo.

“Good, now beasts who are courageous enough to fight ,possibly, battle hardened beasts step forward.”

All of the archers and around a score others stepped once again.

“Good, it's understandable that the ones that didn't step forward didn't, although it ruins your chances of promotion horribly. Get out of my sight.”

The beasts that didn't step forth quickly strided back to camp.

“It's nice to see some beasts with a heart to fight. Okay here's the plan we have used to many times. We wait until the group of beasts enter the Grove of Forgotten Warriors. Than our archers will start picking them out one by one. When they catch on to our little plan they surely will separate and try their hardest to find us and that's when our warriors come in. The archers will step back while our warriors charge and kill. Simple enough?”

His inquiry was answered with the Juska Wrath's battle cry, “Wrauth!”

0o0o---

“When you stop playing games I'll tell you what I think about your idea. It's the smart way to go!”

Martin shook his head, “What idea?”

Urran opened his mouth in disbelief, “ Martin, just get all of the maidens, young, and old ones to a safe place. Also, get all of the warrior types here. I suppose we can scout our route to be safe.”

“You've finally gotten a good idea old one. Your staying behind, correct?”

“Yes, alas I'm to old to fight.”

Martin led all of the maidens to a cave half a mile north of there, left a few beasts to protect them, and reassured them they would be back in under half a day.

0o0o----

“What do you suppose that warrior mouse is up to Gonff?” asked Luke.

Gonff shrugged, “How about we wait and listen inpatient mouse?”

Luke hesitated, “Fine than old thief.”

Gonff glared at Luke, “Okay, I tell you everything you want to know about Lance and this is how you repay me, with insults.”

Luke smirked, “Yep' that's how life is. You still had to repay me for beating you in hand to hand combat.”

Gonff bust out laughing, “Ha ha! You know I told Lance that you beat me in hand to hand combat and can you guess what he said?”

“He said that I was really talented?”

“NO! He said I was the ' Prince of Fibbers'! Which I am!”

“Whatever.” snapped Luke

“Attention!”

Everybeast went quiet. Martin was looking between them all, standing on a nearby hill.

“Urran has told me that he wants us fighters to scout our path first and he has all the reason to do so. What if there is some sort of threat in the woods we don't know about? I want everybeast to form a line. Make sure the older, more experienced ones are in the back and front and the younger ones toward the middle.”

There was some confusion as everybeast got into the line Martin had ordered, but it was done soon enough. Luke had gotten near Lance as he felt protected being around him. Martin got at the front the the line.

Brocktree1
August 2nd, 2006, 03:19 PM
Chapter 15 PART 2

“Okay, quick march, we need to be back here by dawn.”

0o0o----

“ Roland, how long is this forest? If you've ever been through here that is.”

“I dunno' Riju, never been this way.”

Riju sighed, they had been trudging through the forest for a long time and it seemed as though there were no end.

Riju backed away from Roland and came nearer former lieutenant Longears, “Lieutenant, have you ever been through here.”

“No, my boy, this way is forbidden by the council themselves. They never have told us why, we should have asked why. Not I come to think of it all the blokes never told us why to never go many places! I don't believe how igno... ouf! What in the... get out of my way why your holding up the line standing there otter!”

An otter in front of Riju and Longears was staring up at something in the trees.

“Get going the line can't.... the whole bally line has stopped.”

“L..longears, look up in the trees.” stuttered Riju

Longears gasped when he saw what was in them. In every single tree around them there where the dead carcasses of beasts, scattered everywhere in them. Some on the ground most in the trees. The dead ones in the trees where held in by pikes connecting to the bark.

“What beast in their right... arhg...”

Riju turned around in shock of what he saw. The former lieutenant was looking down had his chest, where an arrow was erecting from.

“The blighters' got me, it...”, the lieutenant threw up some blood, “looks like we're under.... attack ..”

Longears's eyes twitched as he fell on his knees and than flat onto his face.

There was no way he was dead, he was standing there talking just like any beast would just a few moments ago.

A squirrel who had seen the whole dilemma was quick to recoil, “We're under attack!”

It was true, soon many arrows where flying left and right, coming from all directions.

“Quick, everybeast retreat! We can't fight like this!” commanded Martin.

All beasts retreated, some not even hearing Martin but following the ones that did. Eventually after running in an unknown direction, they all stopped.

0o0o0---

Luke was scared. He had never been in combat before, but as Lance once told him while they where talking after one of their training sessions, 'All beasts become aware of war, just not with the same intentions and point of view'. This ambush brought up to Luke that he might not be fit for war.

Luke felt a firm hand grasp his shoulder, “Luke, are you okay?”

Luke turned around to confront Lance, who had not spoken to him for some time, and nodded.

“Good.”

0o0o---

A meeting was called between warriors and young ones alike. Every last beast seemed to be ranting, “Martin what the hell happened; Who ambushed us?; Are we going to die?”

Martin remained peaceful to calm the worried beasts, “We where ambushed, I don't know who ambushed us, and we are not going to die.”

“Lizardspit, five are already dead, the hare, a mouse, and three otters!” shouted one of the ranters, a squirrel.

Martin bowed his head, “Now is not the time to grieve over lost ones, we must think of us. I know it's harsh to say but we must find out who was bombarding us!”

“We must stay together thats for sure, no splitting up.” said a small squirrel and everybeast inevitably agreed.

Martin glared at the squirrel, “No point stating the obvious, squirrel. We will fight them because they are a potential threat to us and the ones in the cave. If they know the forest their bound to know the caverns. It's a wonder why we made it through the caverns last time.”

“Perhaps, we should play a trick on them.” suggested Lance who had been listening intently to the discussion.

“We don't even know who they are, mouse.” retorted Martin.

“Who ever said we needed to know? We do know that there are hidden archers and they probably have some up closer combatants. Those types are easy to deal with.”

Martin studied Lance a few moments, “ You do know the ways of war, old one.”

“The name's Lance, Martin...is it?”

“Your.. Lance. The Lance? The one who.”

Lance interrupted, “Killed Tsarmina, yes.”

“Nice to meet you, that's a very simplistic yet great idea, a trick. What trick?”

“The same one they pulled on us.”

0o0o----

“Helo, only five lie dead. The rest have retreated back the way they came.”

Helo smirked, “ If they truly want through the forest their bound to take the caverns. We should set up some sort of trap there.”

“Agreed, sah'”

Helo motioned every vermin there to follow absentmindedly and began to march back to camp.

0o0o---

“Luke, do you remember everything I told you?”

“Yes I do, Kotigi.”

“Great, remember you do the shooting and I'll do the fighting.”

Kotigi stepped out of the bushes both were concealed in and began walking toward Helo.

“You there! The big ferret!”

Helo inhaled in surprise and turned to face Kotigi. He surveyed the mouse up and down. The mouse had slick golden fur, easily spotted from anywhere.

“You, I remember two of you from the trespassers, you where pretty easy to spot.”

Kotigi pointed toward a lone rat standing near a couple of bushes, “Surrender or that rat dies.”

Helo's eyes twitched and he began laughing, “HA! You think you can just threated me with empty insults? Seriously what kind of insult is th....”, Helo quit talking when he noticed that the rat was dead on the ground, an arrow stuck in his neck, “How... how many are out there?”

Kotigi grinned wickedly, “I don't know, I lost count at one hundred.”

“You lie.”

“We'll see.”

In truth only Luke, and one of Noonvale's squirrels, who had shot the rat, were out there.

“Why are you here, mouse, you should be cowering with the rest of your group.”

“And setting a trap isn't cowardly?” retorted Kotigi

Helo sneered and unsheathed his broadsword, “ How does a little one on one sound.”

“I tend to avoid combat, as I am a peaceful beast.”

Helo began to walk toward Kotigi, “I kill anybeast peaceful or warlike, don't expect mercy.

“Tsk tsk, whats your face. I have many bow beasts aiming right at... what did I tell them to aim at... oh yes, your heart. One of them is bound to hit.”

Helo pointed his broadsword toward Kotigi with one hand, still slowly walking toward Kotigi, “I am Helo the Unforgiving, leader of the Juska Wrath.”

“I am Kotigi, peaceful beast. Nice to meet your acquaintance.”

“My what? Nevermind, I've wasted to much time talking to you, you die now you great lier.”

Helo raised his sword to strike Kotigi, who was just staring at Helo with innocent eyes.

“Any beast shoot me and your peaceful friend here gets sliced in two.”

Kotigi placed his hand firmly on a dagger that was hidden in his tunic, “ You know your face reminds me of my grandma's leftover peapie very vividly.”

“Why you...ahh”

Another voice interrupted, “Good job Kotigi, you distracted the idiot long enough for us to block his path back to his little clans camp.”

Helo backed away from Kotigi, gritting his teeth, “ I'll kill you mouse, your next on my list.”

Kotigi shrugged, “Your not the first.” and looked toward the mouse who had interrupted, “Martin should I kill him right here, or should I negotiate with him.”

“What makes you so sure you can kill me little mouse?” snapped Helo.

“Shut up nitwit your in no position to talk period.”

“ I dunno' I'd say smack him around a bit, I do believe we got this whole situation covered.”

Helo stepped back once again, “All my beasts attack!”

“Why did you bring such new recruits? We would have had a much harder time doing this with more experienced fighters.”

Nearly all of Helo's fighters where bunched in a circle, surrounded by many goodbeasts.

One otter came in close to a small rat, “ C'mon, attack us. You know you want to.”

The rat fell onto his knees begging, “ Please don't kill me!”

Martin, who had watched what the otter had done, yelled, “What in hellsgates are you doing otter? Your acting like... like vermin. Step back from the rat.”

The otter followed Martin's demand.

0o0o----

Why did Kotigi have to talk him into this? Missing the rat could result in Kotigi's death. Sweat poured down Luke's face and he gulped as he lifted the bow and firmly placed the arrow on the string. He lifted the bow, aiming at the rat's heart as Kotigi told him. He didn't have much prior experience with a bow, except the training sessions he had shared with Lance. Luke closed one eye and concentrated harder on his target, who was nearly twenty five feet away. He pulled the string back and with it the arrow.

“You'd better fly.”

Brocktree1
August 3rd, 2006, 11:23 AM
Chapter 16- Treason

The scene was so peaceful. The trees gently shook in the wind, the bushes rustled. Yet there stood Helo, trying his hardest to decide what to do. It was his life on the line, no other beasts.

“You want to travel through the forest without my Juska attacking you, don't you.”

Kotigi laughed, “Took you long enough to figure that one out.”

Helo stared at the ground, “ Fine you and your friends huddled up in the cave... may not pass.”

Throughout the group of Noonvalers some gasped and some jumped.

Martin's pupils shrunk, “How....did...you....know?”

“A whole nother' part of my band took them and now their held hostage at my Juska.” lied Helo

Martin gripped his sword handle, “ Let them go or you die.”

Helo tsk tsked, “I also ordered my second in command to kill every single one of them if I didn't return in three hours, two hours ago. I want me and these young ones traded harm free there for your friends.”

“Martin he's bluffing, I bet he'll have his fighters ambush us once we get there.” interjected Kotigi.

Martin pretended like he had never even heard Kotigi, “ Which way to your camp, Helo.”

Helo's grin widened, “Right east.”

Martin's eyes had a tinge of red in them, “Than, lets go. Kotigi, call off your little archer.”

Kotigi jumped back in surprised, How did he know?

0o0o0----

Luke was beginning to become confused. The leader Martin suddenly took off walking at a very fast pace, with Helo following his lead.

Luke glanced toward Kotigi who, seemingly was urging him to come out of the bushes. Luke put his arrow back into his specially strapped quiver on his leg. Kotigi had obviously called the sniping off.

0o0o---

Soon the whole group caught the idea and began to follow Martin and Helo, who had been nearly sprinting to the camp.

By the time Luke got to Kotigi, everybeast was gone.

“Kotigi, what happened?”

“Helo tricked Martin into believing the beasts we left behind in the cave were being held hostage at his Juska camp.”

Luke's eyes widened, “How would you know if he wasn't, the vile rat somehow found out they where there.”

Kotigi began to jog eastward, “Trust me I know when vermin lie, I've heard it to many times.”

Luke followed Kotigi, Makes sense.

0o0o----

Martin was sprinting full speed eastward, he could not let everybeast he cared about down no matter what. He spotted smoke on the horizon and stopped right in his tracks, panting heavily. Helo stopped right behind him.

“Stop here rat, wait for the rest of my group.”

Helo collapsed on the ground from exhaustion, “Whatever you say...”

Martin sat on a large rock, took out his sword and stabbed the ground in front of him, laying his hands on the sword handle.

They'd better hurry, thought Martin.

0o0o----

They showed up very soon with the Noonvalers forming a tight circle around the prisoners, who where bunched up in the middle.

“Okay, I need one negotiator with me and I need a few beasts making sure Helo doesn't escape.”

Kotigi, who had then caught up with the group, happily obliged, “I'll come, I'm a good negotiator, in my opinion.”

“That you are, Helo I'll be needing your little warband on your head, to tell them we have you.”

Helo shrugged, took off the band, and handed it to Martin.

0o0o---

“Waker' up ya lazy bum! There are two mousies' on the trail headin' ere'!”

The stout who was asleep slowly opened his eyes and blinked to rid the blurriness, “hmm... lookit' there yellow one. I've never seen one like that save a dormouse, but this ones fur is a darker yeller' like gold.”

The rat, who had woken the stoat, rolled his eyes.

“Hello there! We want to speak to the second in command at this camp.” said Martin, waving.

The rat spoke, “ State yer' business ere'”

“Simple, we've got your master, Helo captured and we want to negotiate a price with your second in command here. Make him meet us right out here.”

Both the rat and the stout stared in disbelief for a few seconds before busting out laughing, “Haha! And..ha! Do you have any.. he.. proof?”

Kotigi grinned and threw the warlords headband onto the stouts face, “Here it is!”

The stout and the rat instantly hugged each other in fear, “Oh you beasts defeated Helo the unforgiving!”

The rat quickly said to the stout, “Go get Scrum he'll have to negotiate for Helo.”

The stout nodded and took off sprinting in towards the camp.

0o0o---

Scrum was enjoying his time off, lying in his bed wearing gray leather pants, staring at the cramped tent's top. It was seldom he had time to enjoy himself, but when he did he enjoyed his quiet time alone. He began to drift off to sleep.

“Master Scrum!”

Scrum sighed and asked, “Whatzit'?”

“They....they.... they've caught Helo!”

Scrum was wide awake now and quickly addressed the stout, “They captured Helo! Who did? Why?”

“I dunno' two mice, outside.. camp..they come up trail. They wanted to negotiate with you for Helo.”

“On what terms?”

The stout shrugged, “At the camps entrance.”

Scrum began breathing in a pattern trying to calm down, “Go get my sister the seer. I need to speak with her.”

The stout ran off muttering, “Go get this, go get that....mmph'.”

0o0o---

“I'm a very impatient mouse, where is this Scrum?”

“I dunno' oh conquering golden one. He should have been here a while ago.

Kotigi squinted his eyes, “Please spare the complements....”

0o0o

“Brother, what is it you wanted?”

“Ivy, Helo has been taken and I need you to help to negotiate some sort of price with these two mice, please follow me.”

Scrum jumped out of his seat and left the tent, not once looking at his sister.

Mother would be disappointed, thought Ivy.

0o0o---

“You two.”

Martin looked up, he had been hypnotized gazing at the ground.

“Your Scrum.”

“Yes you bland mouse! Why have you taken Helo?”

Martin thought for a second, “ Give us back our beasts and we will give you Helo and around two score of your beasts.

Ivy piped up, “What do you mean by your beasts?”

“You've stolen all of our maids, old kin and young. Give them all back!” screamed Martin with rage.

Kotigi placed a firm hand on Martins shoulder, “Martin, he lied. I bet they're still safe back... at the...”

Scrum shot out, “Where?”

“None of your business.”

Scrum tightened his fist, “What in hellgates do you want for Helo mouse?”

“Safe passage through the woods, no beasts harmed.” stated Kotigi.

“Agreed, hurry up with Helo.”

Martin and Kotigi nodded toward the foxes and began to walk back from where the came.

“Why do you even want to save Helo, Scrum? You and I know everybeast in the camp hates him.” inquired Ivy.

“I don't, it's about time the rat died. When they have their whole group, I'll order every single beast to be slain except one. I want that brown furred one, I am to fight him.”

Ivy shrugged, “He looks like a formidable opponent. What would mother say if I returned without you little brother?”

“I dunno' probably act like nothing happened.” retorted Scrum.

Ivy began to laugh, “Haha that would be my case, she always perfered' you over me.”

Scrum began to waltz back to his tent, “ I don't remember, haven't seen her since I was perhaps just past the babe stage.”

Ivy began to walk alongside him, “ Back to more pressing matters, that mouse don't look like fresh meat. Did you see the sword on him?”

“Aye' I did, it'll do me heart good when I am walking around camp with that sword strapped to my belt and when I'm chief of those whole Juska Wrath.”

“Just don't get yourself killed, little brother.”

Brocktree1
August 5th, 2006, 11:26 PM
Tip of the Tongue chapter 17

“There is a reason I'm called the unforgiving you fleabag otter!”

“Shut up you rat, your no 'greatrat' your a vilerat and that's all you'll ever be. Caring for no beast sides' yourself.”

“Otter when I am released your the first on my list next to that golden mouse, tell me your name!”

“Roland and don't forget it!”

“Don't plan on it!”

The two beasts gazed into one another's eyes, hating each other with a passion. They had thrown insults at one another for the past half hour while waiting for Martin and Kotigi to show up from negotiation. Roland finally backed away muttering, “ If we ever meet face to face he will be the one to die.”

“Calm down Roland, there is a red tinge in your eye and I wouldn't want that to get any bigger than those specks.”

“Don't worry Riju, I've always had a hint of bloodwrath, not the full thing though.”

“How does it feel?” inquired Riju.

“It feels..... strange. I feel comfortable killing beasts, of course when in bloodwrath. I seem to still have much control over my actions, but a beast with full bloodwrath is a different story. I've only seen one in action a while back.”

“Than, please tell me about it, we probably have a lot of time on our hands.” begged Riju.

Roland sighed and plopped on the ground, “ A few seasons ago, my regiment... former regiment.. and I where on some mission to backup a group of villagers who were having trouble with bandits near River Ridge. Among those villagers there was a badger that went by the name , Jhon. He was a very simplistic badger, coming from a line of farmers. He had a daughter, Roberta I believe, that was taken by the bandits near the village. When the bandits finally attacked our village they had no idea we were there waiting for them and they used their prisoners as shields against us. One bandit had used Roberta and threated us that if we got closer she would die. He accidentally slit her throat right in front of her father, Jhon. Jhon's eyes became pure red and he began to mercilessly slaughter every bandit in his path, with his waraxe. When he had killed all of the bandits that were still at the camp, he was still in such a rage he started to attack his own friends. He began to mercilessly slaughter them and took the lives of a few otters from my regiment. It took much force to take him down, but in the end we did. The blow that we dealt was in the gut, and he died shortly afterward. His daughter had barely lived.”

Riju's face was frozen save his mouth, “How could a beast do that? I don't see how one could just attack his own friends like that, even in such a state.”

“Sometimes you just don't understand something until it happens to you.”

0o0o0----

“Martin you do know that the camp doesn't have the others, and you where just tricked into letting the camp know we have Helo, right?”

Martin sneered, “Please don't remind me Kotigi.”

“How could you be so... careless. I wasn't with you at Marshank, but I've heard stories of your exploits there.”

“I don't know. I've never had... family threated like that before. I don't know whatever happened to my father, he left to go get revenge on a searat long ago, and my mother died when I was just a babe. I've been at peace ever since I married Rose, except my first....”

“Your first what?”

Martin's eyes became dull and emotionless, “ Nothing, nothing.”

Kotigi felt sympathy for the mouse. He had so many misfortunes in his life, and Kotigi had no desire to remind him of every one, “ I'm sorry Martin. Off of that, what about when we give Helo back to the Juska tribe? It isn't like their just going to wave goodbye and let us be on our way.”

Martin's liveliness returned to an extent, color back into his eyes, “ I also know that. I have a trap set up in mind, a safety one.”

Kotigi raised an eyebrow, “A safety.. trap?”

Martin grinned, “Oh, you'll see. Let's go get the other part of the group and get ready, we might have a little bit of fighting to do.”

Martin was on a strange mood swing today.

0o0o0---

“Yeowch! I burned my finger!”

Bonnet pampered her finger soothingly after she had burnt it on her cooking pot.

“Marm you okey' ther'?”

Bonnet nodded and began to stir the food she was making.

“Do you need any help mam?”

Bonnet turned to see a mousewife smiling at her, “It would be appreciated, thanks. Could you please take over the other pot, it would help get the food done a bit faster.”

The mousewife quickly set to the task.

After a while Bonnet attempted to strike small talk, “How about the weather today, was it scorching hot or what. No chance for rain anytime soon I'd say. This place is in need of some.”

The mousewife nodded in agreement, “Yes it was. I was lucky enough to have the job to taking care of my newborn inside most of the day.

Bonnet smirked, “Lucky... Mrs...”

“Laterose, but everybeast just calls me 'Rose'.”

Bonnets mind began to wonder, Hmm... Laterose, that name is so very familiar.

“Well Rose, I suppose your married to Martin the Warrior?”

Rose closed her eyes and smiled, “ For nearly seventeen seasons now.”

Bonnet's jaw dropped, “Seventeen.... You look like somebeast that could have only been married for perhaps five!”

“Yes, me and Martin got married quite young.”

“Well, I've been married for about thirteen now, wasn't even engaged until about ten seasons after my sons birth.”

“How young where you when you had your babe?” inquired Rose

“Fourteen seasons.” replied Bonnet quickly.

Rose's eyes shot all the way open, “Oh my... and you thought I got married young?”

“You did didn't you? I wasn't married until I was twenty-four if you do your math right.”

“That's not my point..”

“I know your point Rose and t'was a mistake.”

Bonnet took a ladle, dipped it into the pot, and tasted the food. “Ahh, another success! Humblefur soup is up and ready!”, Bonnet started to ding a triangle. Beasts came rushing over to receive a bowl of the famous soup.

“How are you holding up Rose?”

Rose tasted her concoction, “Still a little undercooked, you should take over the cooking and I'll feed everybeast.”

“Agreed.” said Bonnet as she and Rose switched places.

0o0o---

After everybeast had eaten, the plates were stacked nearly twice Bonnets length. Bonnet sighed and began to wash them.

Rose had been watching as everybeast just left without offering to help Bonnet clean the dishes.

“Do you need my help, Bonnet?”

“No, you've already helped me beyond belief, you have a son and daughter to look after right?”

“And you have a son and a husband, but that doesn't stop you from feeding stomachs does it? Besides, my parents are looking after them today.”

“Aye, Rose your so nice! I've had to make beasts help me before, your perhaps the only beast I've met in a very long time who is so willing to help.”

Rose giggled and took another bin full to wash.

After a while Bonnet piped up, “You know, these dishes don't seem to end. How do you travel with such burdens?”

“These dishes are not burdens, they remind us deeply of Noonvale. Each beast must carry at least three dishes, some are obliged carry even more.”

“A moral booster eh?”

“I guess you could put it like that.”

0o0o----

After the dishes where all done and neatly set into bags for next days travel, Bonnet and Rose sat down on two makeshift chairs, exhausted.

“I never knew washing dished could make you so tired.” commented Rose.

“You'd better believe it. That might do and the fact it's probably past the time we usually go to bed.”

“Well, I'd better go to bed. Goodnight Bonnet.”

“Goodnight Rose.”

As Rose began to walk away, Bonnet began to drift off to sleep in the chair.

Bonnets mind began to wonder, Rose... Laterose.... that's so very familiar. I've heard it recently, I just can't get it off the tip of my tongue. That name means something, but what?

Brocktree1
August 8th, 2006, 11:48 PM
Chapter 18- Verses

“C'mon Martin, the cave is just up ahead!”

“I see it Kotigi.”

The two mice had finally returned to camp.

“They've returned!” screamed a squirrel.

A group quickly circled Martin. Everybeast was throwing out questions left and right.

“Where is the rest of the group?”

“Why in the world are you two alone?”

“Was the trip there safe?”

Martin put both of his hands up, “I need to talk to Urran now.”

“I am here, Martin.” said the frail figure of a mouse that had walked from the crowd.

“Urran we have a big problem, and it will take a while for me to tell you.”

“Well you should begin now!”

Martin related how the Juska Wrath had ambushed them and a few where slain, how Helo had tricked him into thinking that they where prisoners held up in his camp, and of his plan to make it through the forest without losing a single beast.

Urran placed a hand on Martin's shoulder, “You plan is a very good one, but what astounds me is the fact that you were so careless and gullible to that beast.”

Martin gazed at the ground, “That's going to have to wait until later Urran, right now we have to make it through this forest.”

Indeed Martin's plan was a very good one.

0o0o----

Nearly five hours later

“Ere' they finally come.”

Martin, and Kotigi were in the very front of the group with Helo tied to a makeshift rope held by Kotigi.

The fox Scrum approached, “ Give us Helo, now and than you can go.”

“No, we will travel a few miles south and let him go then.”

Scrum paused for a few seconds, “Fine then, you're good beasts. Goodbeasts keep their words right?”

Martin nodded

“Good than, if he isn't back within the hour your all deadbeasts.”

“ I understand, let's go.”

Martin and the rest of the group began to take their leave.

0o0o---

“Scrum, they're almost out of ranging distance. Much further and we would have to sacrifice our cover to shoot at them.”

“I understand, Scrum. I want them to be as far away as possible so they can't quickly retaliate, than we can chase them down before they can issue an attack..”

“Good thinkin, ya know, their band seems smaller than you would think eh chief?”

Scrum raised his hand, looking at the group they were to fire upon, “Aim and load.”

The rat who was addressing Scrum began to get a little nervous, “Chief seriously, if they went back to get the rest of their group wouldn't they have a lot more beasts? It looks as if they have less.”

Scrum completely ignored the rat, “Fire!”

Silence.

“C-c-chief..”

Scrum's eye twitched, “Why... aren't they're arrows in the air, rat?”

“L-l-look.”

Scrum turned to see a horror greet him. His four archer were lying in a small pile, blood stained all over them, dead. Their bow and arrows were nowhere to be found. Scrum picked up a pike that was lying on the ground, “ This is bad.”

There were no sign of any beasts around them save his confused warriors he had brought along.

The rat , his hand shaking, unsheathed his small dirk.

“They tricked us.” commented Scrum.

“Chief, some of that group that went off north are coming back.”

“????..”

A laugh came from the bushes, “We gotcha! You think we beasts wouldn't be familiar with the vermin ways?”

“Warriors , quick, attack the beasts hidden in the bushes!”

From the bushes, out jumped many beasts, who were all armed.

The group of Juska warriors and Noonvalers met with a load bang, swords clanging together.

The rat with the dirk who was cowering in fear and began to run in a random direction.

“Take that n' that you horrible beasts!” screamed Cornelius who was enjoying the fight.

Cornelius swayed to the right as a ferret swung at his unprotected head. The ferret had stumbled somewhat from the swing and in that time Cornelius punched the ferret in the stomach, thus knocking the breath out of him. The ferret fell onto his knees and looked up just in time to see a sword coming down onto him mercilessly.

0o0o---

This was the first time Luke had been in open combat, but his fighting seemed to come naturally.

“Hey yon' stupid mouse!”

Brocktree1
August 8th, 2006, 11:50 PM
Chatper 18- Part 2

Luke looked in the direction of where the voice had erected from to be greeted by a fist which collided with his face. Luke stumbled back somewhat and looked at the attacker. It was a rat, nearly a heads length taller than him. The rat bore a nasty scar penetrating from his missing left ear to his eye.

“Ha! They send new meat like you into battle?”

Luke gritted his teeth as he swung as the rat who expertly dodged the attack by ducking and than kicked Luke in the ribs.

“Cmon mouse is that seriously all you've got?”

Luke wasn't about to fall on his knees just yet, he kicked at the rat's exposed stomach and pulled out his old iron sword.

“Ya got me, to bad you won't be able to live another day!” said the rat as he licked his sword that had recent blood stains on it.

The two stared each other down and circled, oblivious to their surroundings. The rat notices Luke's eyes becoming red.

That young mouse has a case of the bloodwrath, I hope it isn't very serious, thought the rat.

Luke was gripping onto the sword so hard blood started to drip off the bottom handle, the rat must die, the rat will die.

The rat screamed and attacked Luke, expecting to catch him off guard, but that wasn't the case. Luke easily parried the attack and jumped back. His eyes had a burgundy color to them, now much white could be seen.

Die, thought Luke.

The rat once again attacked Luke, but this time Luke was surely ready. Luke swung so hard at the sword that he sent it propelling into the air.

The rats mouth was shaking in horror now that he was unprotected, fighting a beast with the bloodwrath.

Luke yelled and stabbed the rat in the heart. The rat's eyes rolled to the back of his head as he fell limp onto the ground.

Luke had killed his first vermin.

0o0o----

I'll kill that fox when I get my hands on him, treason!, thought Helo as he punched an unaware otter in the back of the neck, knocking him out. Helo had used knife he picked off of his otter guard to free him from his bonds.

The rest of the group didn't notice Helo slip away as they continued to run north.

0o0o----

Scrum spotted Martin and his hands started shaking wildly.

“You there, brown furred one!”

Martin, who had just slain a poorly trained rat nearly effortlessly, was quickly aware of Scrum.

Scrum pointed his pike toward Martin, “Mouse, I want your sword, give it to me and you'll live.”

Martin rolled his eyes and gazed at his sword, why do you burden me so?

“You don't think your the first beast who's ever demanded my sword like that?”

Scrum began to charge at Martin screaming, “No, but I'll be the last!”

Martin inhaled quickly, he could see the fault in Scrums stance, one flick of the sword should break his pike.

Martin was just about to strike when Scrum did the most unexpected thing. He quickly jammed the pole part into the ground, and used it to propel himself into the air as he kicked Martin right in the face , sending Martin flying back a few feet and rolling on the ground. Scrum landed on his feet quickly and took the pike from the ground and yet again got into the charging stance. Martin sat on the ground bewildered, it was the first time he had seen a beast so agile. It was going to be one heck of a fight.

Martin got up slowly, studying his opponent. He had fought many beasts in his time, but none so agile as this one. It would require a different strategy.

“Your lucky this is a pike mouse, if it was a pole you would have a much harder time with me.”

Martin shrugged, “ What kind of excuse would that be if I killed you?”

Scrum grumbled and charged yet again.

Martin's sword was at the ready. Scrum stabbed the pike's end into the ground and used the pike as a vault to kick Martin. Luckily, Scrum totally missed Martin and landed on the ground, doing a roll, and using his hand to turn himself toward Martin. Martin had his back to the pike..

“Are you nervous warrior?”

“Am I trembling fox?”

The fox rushed his opponent. Martin swung at the fox's feet, but Scrum dodged it with one high jump and punched Martin on his head once again.

Martin stumbled back some. He than heard a voice inside of his head, how dare you attack an unarmed beast with a sword.

Who ever had just told him that was right. Martin sheathed his sword on his back and cupped his fists, he was going to fight the beast the same way he was fighting him.

“Ha, you are a smart one mouse. The movements of the sword are very limited and I know how to dodge every last one of them. Although the movement of the fist is unlimited.”

“You sure do know a lot about fist fighting.”

“That's why I'm alive.”

Martin grinned, “ I could learn a lot from this battle.”

“If you live.”

With that, the two beasts engaged in hand to hand combat. Martin swung with his left fist, but Scrum ducked and punched Martin right in the jaw. Martin quickly kicked at Scrums exposed left side. Martin had hit him so hard Scrum stumbled back a few paces and took a few second to recover, but Martin was already there, pummeling Scrum in the face. Scrum was in deep pain, Martin had broken his nose easily and his left eye was bleeding. He fell on the ground.

“Agg, mouse. I don't understand, how did you...”

Martin kicked Scrum, “You left to many spots exposed.”

Martin stuck his foot on Scrums throat, “What you tried to pull won't go unpunished.”

0o0o----

The fight was nearly over, many of the vermin had fled before and during combat. Only one casualty and a few injuries.

On the ground lay a dead squirrel, an otter was crying as he pulled a dirk that was stuck in the squirrels neck out. The fight where Luke was was over, only a few beasts were chasing the vermin. Luke spotted Martin towering over a fox.

Luke than spotted a small rustle of brush about ten feet behind Martin. A dark figure of a beast emerged with what looked like to be a dagger, slowly making his way over to Martin. It took Luke a second to realize what was going on. Luke quickly grabbed his shortbow that was strapped onto his back, and pulled out his best arrow from his quiver. He knew this was time for action, not thinking. Aim for the heart.

0o0o----

“Now, die Scrum.”

Scrum was struggling to breath as Martin pushed onto his throat. He knew it was his time.

Suddenly, a scream was heard right behind Martin. Martin's attention quickly swayed from Scrum, to the figure behind him.

There stood Helo not even a foot behind him, dagger raised. Martin gasped in surprise, but when Helo didn't strike he knew something was wrong. Helo's eyes were that of a dead beast. His mouth wide open in agape, while his arm fell to his side and he dropped the dagger. Helo went limp and fell on his right side. Martin quickly noticed an arrow protruding from his chest, locked into his heart. Martin quickly scanned his surroundings for the beast who has just saved his life. There on an empty hill stood a young mouse.

Brocktree1
August 9th, 2006, 11:11 PM
Chapter 19- Onward to Noonvale

Martin's eyes became adjusted to seeing far quickly. He quickly noticed the lone mouse standing upon the hill, wielding his bright yellow bow, a yew.

Realization hit him hard, If that mouse would have not been there , he would surely be dead. If he had not been such a good shot, he would have died on the spot. That young mouse had just saved his life, completely.

Martin stared at the mouse, trying his hardest to understand what that mouse just gave him, many more seasons in life hopefully. He was in debt to him.

0o0o---

Luke couldn't believe it, he had actually shot Helo right in the heart. He usually can't hit a target from twenty feet.

0o0o---

“Lance, brother, did you see what your friend, Luke, just did?”

Lance, who had been cleaning off his blood stained sword, raised an eyebrow, “No, what did he do?”

“He shot Helo from about seventy feet away, right in the heart, saving Martin!”

Lance's eyes popped wide open, “ I've... I've never even hit something that accurately. He shot him where I told him to, right where I told him to.... your lying.”

Kotigi urged him on, “Come see for yourself, follow me.”

Lance jogged along with Kotigi to where Luke was, right through some brush. Luke was standing there, mouth still open in agape, still gazing at what he had done.

Lance placed his hand firmly on Luke's shoulder, “You did good.”

0o0o----

Martin couldn't advert his gaze from the mouse. Something about him seemed to, odd. He had the strangest feeling in the pit of his stomach. He finally turned back to face his adversary, the fox.

He wasn't there. Martin sighed knowing that he should have been paying attention. Scrum was obviously an expert at tracking and covering, he didn't even leave a trail of blood.

“I'll get you next time..” Martin mumbled to himself as he took off, heading right toward the mouse that saved his life.

0o0o---

“Lance, it isn't right.”

“What isn't?”

Luke stared off into the distance, watching Martin running over to him, “I totally destroyed the lives of two beasts today.”

“Aye, I understand. Try to think of all the lives you saved. Surely if Helo lived him and his hoard would of killed hundreds more.”

Luke's head drifted down, “ I guess, but it doesn't seem right to just rip lives away from others, even if you know what they might do in the future.”

He's defiantly been forced to young to kill, he'll eventuality get over it, thought Lance.

“You handled yourself very well out there lad' I'm sorry I couldn't help you much.”

“It's okay.”

0o0o----

Martin rubbed the side as he approached the young mouse, that fox had hit him very hard. Compared to Luke he was just a a little bit taller, if any.

Martin stuck his hand out to shake, “Thanks for saving my hide.”

Luke returned the handshake, “ Your welcome Martin.”

Lance quickly interrupted, “Cmon, is that all your going to say Martin? This mouse just saved you seasons to be with your wife and kids. Not to mention their life's happiness as well.”

Martin stared at Lance through half closed eyes than sighed, “Young mouse, I owe you everything. You just saved my life and I'm fully aware of that. Your very skilled with a bow, thanks for saving my life again.”

“Hmp, Luke I wouldn't even respond to that beast, he's to enveloped in his pride”,retorted Lance.

Luke felt awkward being around Martin and blushed slightly, “ Sir, your welcome, t'was nothing really.”

“Lance, what did you just call him?”

Lance raised an eyebrow, “His name, Luke.”

Martin glanced at Luke and than toward the ground mumbling, “Just a coincidence...”

“What is?” asked Luke.

“Just a few memories, I used to know a mouse named Luke that's it.”

Lance smiled, “Well, we had better round up every beast and start heading toward Noonvale, the sooner we get there the better.”

Martin was quick to the answer, “Agreed, goodbye L..Luke and Lance. Luke I'll fully thank you later.”

0o0o----

Less than five minutes later the whole group was off, and made camp somewhat early, with some daylight left. While all of the beasts sat and talked, Urran Voh cleared his throat and started to yell to obtain their attention.

“Attention attention, as some of you beasts know this is purely safe territory, this is the only safe spot close to Kotir. All of our allies surround us, and Noonvale is but five hours march due east. Everybeast you are allowed to stay up late and enjoy life, and with that I take my leave.”

Everybeast cheered and quickly got to making campfires, to cook themselves.

0o0o----

“Luke I heard what you did today, well done!”

Luke grinned, knowing full well the voice was Bonnet's, “ Hello Bonnet, It's been a while since we've talked hasn't it?”

Bonnet took a seat on the ground next to the campfire Luke had created, “ Yes, it has. Why do you sit over here alone?”

“I have no other beast to really talk to, so why not?”

“Why can't you just find one? There are plenty around here!” , Bonnet raised her arms and looked around.

Luke spat in the fire, “ I killed two beasts today, it just isn't right to be celebrating like all of you beasts.”

“Wow..”

“What?”

“You sounded just like Jhonus there, when he had killed his first vermin, protecting me.”

“Sounds Noble.” said a deep male voice coming from behind Luke. Both beasts looked up to see Martin standing, with his hands on his hips, grinning from ear to ear with a warm feeling about him.

“Martin, what are you doing here?”

“I said I'd thank you fully later, I told my wife about you and she wants to invite you to our campfire for dinner.”

Luke was about to reply when Bonnet shot out, “He would love to come to your campfire!”

Martin nodded, “I see, would you like to come to eh..”

“Bonnet, and no, I simply came here to give the boy some company. I suppose I'll be making my way back to my campfire, see you later Luke.”

With that, Bonnet took off full speed, soon lost in a crowd of beasts.

“Come Luke.”

Martin began to walk back to the main campfire, Luke right behind.

0o0o----

“Oh my! Your the one who saved my Martin!”

Rose the mousewife ran screaming up to Luke and hugged him bawling.

“He would have been dead if it weren't for you! Your my hero.”

Rose was sobbing pitifully into the blue tunic Luke was wearing. Luke seemed to understand what Rose felt. She knew that her husband's life had come so close to being lost.

“It's okay, Rose, I presume?”

Rose backed off and wiped her tears on the special habit she was wearing, “Yes, that's my name, Luke?”

Luke nodded and took a seat down on the campfire, next the Urran Voh, who was holding a baby mouse. Rose crouched next to her husband and whispered something in his ear, to which Martin shook his head to. Rose sighed and closed her eyes for a few moments and Martin patted her back.

Hmm... strange. Why do they act so sad whenever my name is mentioned, thought Luke.

“Well, Luke, it seems just fitting we invite you to dinner since you saved Martin's life. Well, you can come to any dinner for the rest of your life if you would like.” said Rose as she slowly walked over to the big cooking pot and tasted the food. Her eyes relaxed and she seemed to exhale after she tasted the food, it was done.

Urran Voh addressed Luke, “Would you like hold the baby?”

“Yes sir, but I've never held one in my life.”

Urran handed Luke the babe very carefully, “Sit him in your lap and hold the back of his head gently.”

Luke did as he was bid and the baby fit comfortably. Luke gazed into the babe's blue eyes. He was so young, so inexperienced and most defiantly had trails ahead of him as his father was a warrior. Luke felt sort of sorry for the babe knowing that more will be expected of the baby compared to others.

The mousebabe raised his hands to totch Luke's face, “Da da.”

Rose froze, “Did my baby just speak?”

A younger mousemaiden, a few seasons younger than Luke by the looks of it, spoke up, “Yes, momma he just called Luke Da Da.”

“That's weird Martin always tries to get him to say Da Da , oh well my baby just said his first words!”

“What's his name?” inquired Luke.

“His name is Urran after my father. In Noonvale one doesn't don a middle and last name unless they become married as peaceful beasts.”

Martin nudged Luke, “Let me take im'.”

Luke handed the babe over to Martin very carefully. Rose took a stack of bowls that was sitting on a stool and handed them to Urran Voh, who took one and handed the rest to Luke, who handed them to Martin, so on and so forth. With vigilance, Rose picked up the pot of stew and her ladle, and began to fill every beasts bowls with food. Luke tasted the stew, testing it. It was great! He started to gulp it down faster than an arrow meeting its target.

“Mis' Rose this stew is excellent, it tastes sort of like Mrs. Humblefur's soup!”

Rose laughed as she took a bite, “Yes, this is Bonnets recipe with some minor alterations.”

Luke was already done with the bowl of stew and begging for more. Rose blushed and refilled Luke's bowl. After all of the beasts were done eating Urran spoke up, “Well than I'd better get some sleep, I havn't had much lately.”

“Goodnight father.”

“Goodnight, Rose, Martin, Acacia, and thank you Luke.” said Urran as he walked over to the babe and kissed him on the forehead. Urran Voh nestled into some grass near his wife and began to snore sound fully.

Brocktree1
August 9th, 2006, 11:13 PM
Chapter 19 part two


Martin's eyes became adjusted to seeing far quickly. He quickly noticed the lone mouse standing upon the hill, wielding his bright yellow bow, a yew.

Realization hit him hard, If that mouse would have not been there , he would surely be dead. If he had not been such a good shot, he would have died on the spot. That young mouse had just saved his life, completely.

Martin stared at the mouse, trying his hardest to understand what that mouse just gave him, many more seasons in life hopefully. He was in debt to him.

0o0o---

Luke couldn't believe it, he had actually shot Helo right in the heart. He usually can't hit a target from twenty feet.

0o0o---

“Lance, brother, did you see what your friend, Luke, just did?”

Lance, who had been cleaning off his blood stained sword, raised an eyebrow, “No, what did he do?”

“He shot Helo from about seventy feet away, right in the heart, saving Martin!”

Lance's eyes popped wide open, “ I've... I've never even hit something that accurately. He shot him where I told him to, right where I told him to.... your lying.”

Kotigi urged him on, “Come see for yourself, follow me.”

Lance jogged along with Kotigi to where Luke was, right through some brush. Luke was standing there, mouth still open in agape, still gazing at what he had done.

Lance placed his hand firmly on Luke's shoulder, “You did good.”

0o0o----

Martin couldn't advert his gaze from the mouse. Something about him seemed to, odd. He had the strangest feeling in the pit of his stomach. He finally turned back to face his adversary, the fox.

He wasn't there. Martin sighed knowing that he should have been paying attention. Scrum was obviously an expert at tracking and covering, he didn't even leave a trail of blood.

“I'll get you next time..” Martin mumbled to himself as he took off, heading right toward the mouse that saved his life.

0o0o---

“Lance, it isn't right.”

“What isn't?”

Luke stared off into the distance, watching Martin running over to him, “I totally destroyed the lives of two beasts today.”

“Aye, I understand. Try to think of all the lives you saved. Surely if Helo lived him and his hoard would of killed hundreds more.”

Luke's head drifted down, “ I guess, but it doesn't seem right to just rip lives away from others, even if you know what they might do in the future.”

He's defiantly been forced to young to kill, he'll eventuality get over it, thought Lance.

“You handled yourself very well out there lad' I'm sorry I couldn't help you much.”

“It's okay.”

0o0o----

Martin rubbed the side as he approached the young mouse, that fox had hit him very hard. Compared to Luke he was just a a little bit taller, if any.

Martin stuck his hand out to shake, “Thanks for saving my hide.”

Luke returned the handshake, “ Your welcome Martin.”

Lance quickly interrupted, “Cmon, is that all your going to say Martin? This mouse just saved you seasons to be with your wife and kids. Not to mention their life's happiness as well.”

Martin stared at Lance through half closed eyes than sighed, “Young mouse, I owe you everything. You just saved my life and I'm fully aware of that. Your very skilled with a bow, thanks for saving my life again.”

“Hmp, Luke I wouldn't even respond to that beast, he's to enveloped in his pride”,retorted Lance.

Luke felt awkward being around Martin and blushed slightly, “ Sir, your welcome, t'was nothing really.”

“Lance, what did you just call him?”

Lance raised an eyebrow, “His name, Luke.”

Martin glanced at Luke and than toward the ground mumbling, “Just a coincidence...”

“What is?” asked Luke.

“Just a few memories, I used to know a mouse named Luke that's it.”

Lance smiled, “Well, we had better round up every beast and start heading toward Noonvale, the sooner we get there the better.”

Martin was quick to the answer, “Agreed, goodbye L..Luke and Lance. Luke I'll fully thank you later.”

0o0o----

Less than five minutes later the whole group was off, and made camp somewhat early, with some daylight left. While all of the beasts sat and talked, Urran Voh cleared his throat and started to yell to obtain their attention.

“Attention attention, as some of you beasts know this is purely safe territory, this is the only safe spot close to Kotir. All of our allies surround us, and Noonvale is but five hours march due east. Everybeast you are allowed to stay up late and enjoy life, and with that I take my leave.”

Everybeast cheered and quickly got to making campfires, to cook themselves.

0o0o----

“Luke I heard what you did today, well done!”

Luke grinned, knowing full well the voice was Bonnet's, “ Hello Bonnet, It's been a while since we've talked hasn't it?”

Bonnet took a seat on the ground next to the campfire Luke had created, “ Yes, it has. Why do you sit over here alone?”

“I have no other beast to really talk to, so why not?”

“Why can't you just find one? There are plenty around here!” , Bonnet raised her arms and looked around.

Luke spat in the fire, “ I killed two beasts today, it just isn't right to be celebrating like all of you beasts.”

“Wow..”

“What?”

“You sounded just like Jhonus there, when he had killed his first vermin, protecting me.”

“Sounds Noble.” said a deep male voice coming from behind Luke. Both beasts looked up to see Martin standing, with his hands on his hips, grinning from ear to ear with a warm feeling about him.

“Martin, what are you doing here?”

“I said I'd thank you fully later, I told my wife about you and she wants to invite you to our campfire for dinner.”

Luke was about to reply when Bonnet shot out, “He would love to come to your campfire!”

Martin nodded, “I see, would you like to come to eh..”

“Bonnet, and no, I simply came here to give the boy some company. I suppose I'll be making my way back to my campfire, see you later Luke.”

With that, Bonnet took off full speed, soon lost in a crowd of beasts.

“Come Luke.”

Martin began to walk back to the main campfire, Luke right behind.

0o0o----

“Oh my! Your the one who saved my Martin!”

Rose the mousewife ran screaming up to Luke and hugged him bawling.

“He would have been dead if it weren't for you! Your my hero.”

Rose was sobbing pitifully into the blue tunic Luke was wearing. Luke seemed to understand what Rose felt. She knew that her husband's life had come so close to being lost.

“It's okay, Rose, I presume?”

Rose backed off and wiped her tears on the special habit she was wearing, “Yes, that's my name, Luke?”

Luke nodded and took a seat down on the campfire, next the Urran Voh, who was holding a baby mouse. Rose crouched next to her husband and whispered something in his ear, to which Martin shook his head to. Rose sighed and closed her eyes for a few moments and Martin patted her back.

Hmm... strange. Why do they act so sad whenever my name is mentioned, thought Luke.

“Well, Luke, it seems just fitting we invite you to dinner since you saved Martin's life. Well, you can come to any dinner for the rest of your life if you would like.” said Rose as she slowly walked over to the big cooking pot and tasted the food. Her eyes relaxed and she seemed to exhale after she tasted the food, it was done.

Urran Voh addressed Luke, “Would you like hold the baby?”

“Yes sir, but I've never held one in my life.”

Urran handed Luke the babe very carefully, “Sit him in your lap and hold the back of his head gently.”

Luke did as he was bid and the baby fit comfortably. Luke gazed into the babe's blue eyes. He was so young, so inexperienced and most defiantly had trails ahead of him as his father was a warrior. Luke felt sort of sorry for the babe knowing that more will be expected of the baby compared to others.

The mousebabe raised his hands to totch Luke's face, “Da da.”

Rose froze, “Did my baby just speak?”

A younger mousemaiden, a few seasons younger than Luke by the looks of it, spoke up, “Yes, momma he just called Luke Da Da.”

“That's weird Martin always tries to get him to say Da Da , oh well my baby just said his first words!”

“What's his name?” inquired Luke.

“His name is Urran after my father. In Noonvale one doesn't don a middle and last name unless they become married as peaceful beasts.”

Martin nudged Luke, “Let me take im'.”

Luke handed the babe over to Martin very carefully. Rose took a stack of bowls that was sitting on a stool and handed them to Urran Voh, who took one and handed the rest to Luke, who handed them to Martin, so on and so forth. With vigilance, Rose picked up the pot of stew and her ladle, and began to fill every beasts bowls with food. Luke tasted the stew, testing it. It was great! He started to gulp it down faster than an arrow meeting its target.

“Mis' Rose this stew is excellent, it tastes sort of like Mrs. Humblefur's soup!”

Rose laughed as she took a bite, “Yes, this is Bonnets recipe with some minor alterations.”

Luke was already done with the bowl of stew and begging for more. Rose blushed and refilled Luke's bowl. After all of the beasts were done eating Urran spoke up, “Well than I'd better get some sleep, I havn't had much lately.”

“Goodnight father.”

“Goodnight, Rose, Martin, Acacia, and thank you Luke.” said Urran as he walked over to the babe and kissed him on the forehead. Urran Voh nestled into some grass near his wife and began to snore sound fully.

Brocktree1
August 10th, 2006, 08:41 PM
Chapter 20- Noonvale

“Greensman Ale...”

“Check.”

“Fizzberry Bomb.”

“Check.”

“Hackleshack Tackletoe?”

“Er, what might that be missy'?”

A hare, about the average hight for a hare, wearing a long apron, scratched her head, “Well I don't really know, the description is sorta' messed up, bland donchaknow'. Says here red and white meat wot.”

A very young mouse about to enter his teen seasons shrugged, “Who in their right mind would make red and white meat.”

“Well we'll just have to skip it, the returning Noonvaler's could arrive any second, Blueberry Cordial...”

“Check.”

0o0o----

“Why are we always givin' the most annoying jobs? We could be out there checking the supplies, or even taking care of the dibbuns, but no.. we have to sit here for hours and wait for the Noonvalers!”

“Don't know mate, if it's easy I do it no questions asked.” , stated a plump squirrel as he was picking at his teeth while watching the horizon.

“Hmmp.” said a fat mouse as he slip down into his chair.

A show loomed ahead, oblivious to the mouse, but the squirrel noticed it out of the corner of his eye, he pointed to the shadows “Mate..... look... you see that?

The mouse squinted and glanced in the directing the squirrel pointed, “ Hmm... that there looks like.... beasts arriving. They're here!

The mouse jumped up out of his set and ran to announce it to all of the other beasts. When the squirrel lost sight of the mouse he commented, “He always falls for it... heh.”

0o0o----

Luke's mouth opened in agasp when he finally came upon Noonvale. Many beasts ran up to greet the party, of all shapes in sizes and of all kinds. He had never seen so many different beasts in one place.

Martin raised his voice, “Attention all Noonvalers, please show these newcomers around the village. They will be staying for quite a while. I know you've prepared a feast for us, thank you, but now there isn't enough food for us all. Please cooks, make us a bit more.

A few shouts of confusion rang out, but the Noonvalers soon did as they were bid. Luke had been walking around gazing at the sights Noonvale had to offer. The feeling was so peaceful and tranquil, unlike River Ridge. River Ridge had a certain aura about it that made anybeast feel uncomfortable, the feeling of dominance.

, “Well hello young mouse, what happened why are there so many newcomers?”

Luke scratched the back of his head, “ I'm sure Urran will explain what happened.”

“I see well nice to meet you eh...”

“Luke..”

The Vole was taken aback unexpectedly, “Your name is Luke you say?”

“Yes, sir.”

The vole stuck out his hand to shake, “ Name's Voron, but that isn't important. We need to talk, now.”

“Eh, why Voron?”

“There's just something you need to know about your name, okay? Follow me, I'll talk to you in my house so we can talk privately.

Luke followed Voron through a few small streets, out of the village a bit, and into some hilly farmland. There stood a small farmhouse, with some busted windows, and a door that opened slanted, obviously Voron's.

“So Voron I suppose your a farmer.”

“That I am. Listen I just have to outline the issue with your name. It's very well known around the village.”

Luke interrupted, “and not in a good way I'm guessing.”

“Well... yes and no, I'll just tell you the story

“The story?”

“Yes now shut up and listen. Sixteen seasons back, vermin from Kotir launched an assault on this village. They started a fire that burned much farmland, many trees, and a few houses. One of those houses belonged to a certain Laterose and Martin, current settlers in our village. Did you by chance meet either one on your way from River Ridge?”

“Did you say... Laterose? My locket.” Luke had been neglecting it ever since he found out what exactly was in it. He felt the pocket he always kept it in, “It's gone.”

“What is?”

“My locket.”

“Well to bad boy, now listen to me. They were away from their house when the raid started and had left a trusted old mouse to take care of their son, just a small mouseling about a two seasons old, while they were gone. The vermin broke into their home, killed the old one, and burned down the house with their son still inside. Can you guess this mouse's name?”

Luke answered without hesitation, “It was Luke wasn't it...”

“Indeed, by the time Martin had ran all of the way back, there was not a trace of the house, or even of the mouse.”

Luke opened his eyes in horror, It all made so much sense now.

“Luke is the grandson of Urran Voh, and the son of Martin the Warrior, both very important figures in our village. Try not to spread your name around to much. Leave, we never had this talk.”

Luke stood up, out of the chair he was in and stumbled to the door, nearly falling. Voron quickly came to Luke's aid.

“What's wrong boy?” inquired Voron.

“It all makes sense now... all of it.”

“What does?”

“It was staring me in the face the whole time just daring me to open the door!”

“Stop beating around the bush!” screamed Voron..

“Their my parents!”

The vole looked down at the ground sadly, “Don't get the wrong idea boy, your pasts might be similar, but there is no way that child survived that fire.”

Luke forcefully pulled himself from Voron's entanglement, “You just have to learn to think out of the box. Anything is a possibility.”

Voron squeezed the top of his nose in disgust, “Just don't get your hopes up.”

The two stared at one another, not blinking. Luke sneered and threw open the door, walking away angrily.

What a negative fellow.....

0o0o----

“Roland!”

Roland, who had been sitting on a big rock, perked his ears up, “Huh, who' that?”

“It's me, Riju. Is this place great or what? I could live here forever!”

“Nah, after a while you get the itch of wanting to leave.” , retorted Roland.

Riju became serious, “Have you met your wife yet, and the two little ones?”

“Alas, no my boy. I'm starting to think their not even here.”

“Have you asked around for them?” questioned Riju.

“No, I know nearly everybeast here and their not bothering to give even one look at me. I totally understand why, and I.... I've gone down the drain to much in the past few weeks.”

Riju had become good friends with Roland since they had met at their mothers and they respected each other immensely. They were starting to act like brothers to one another.

“ It's okay Roland, they have to be around here, why would Urran lie?”

“Your right.... what would I say? Just... hello there, it's been a while. Oh look you have two little ones that are mine! Nice to meet them.”

Riju rolled his eyes, “No.. it will come naturally.”

Roland swallowed his pride, “Look at me, I had old beasts taking advice from me, now I'm taking advice from a beast half my age.”, Roland got up and stretched, “Well, I'll just keep trying.”

0o0o----

Luke was lost in thought as he wondered the streets of Noonvale aimlessly. Were those beasts, Martin and Laterose, his father and mother? Every last one of the clues pointed to it. There were none not supporting the fact.

“Hello, mouse?”

Luke had been addressed by an otterwife and shot out rudely, “Huh?”

“Are... are you... one of the newcomers?”

Luke nodded, growing impatient with the otter already.

The otter twiddled her thumbs together, “Well...um... do you know an otter.. that uh.. goes by the name um... Roland.. or uh.. Waveback?

Luke thought for a moment, “You mean our lieutenant... well former lieutenant.”

The otter blushed, “Uh... I would guess if that's his name.”

“Than I know him...”

The otters head shot up and her eyes popped wide open, “Than will you please show me to him, please?”

“I haven't the faintest idea where he is.”

The otter had a downed look on her face as she began to talk away. Luke had a flashback,


“Her... I though she had left Noonvale.”

“She did at one time, to find you. She came to this town for some time with her two little ones and stayed with your parents correct? When she left she headed straight back to Noonvale to raise the two otters.”

“You mean I'll get to meet my son and daughter...”

What if this otterwife is the person he is talking about, surely he would want to see her, thought Luke.

“Mam, I never said we couldn't find him.”

The otter turned her head and smiled at Luke through sad eyes.

Brocktree1
August 11th, 2006, 11:54 PM
Chapter 21- The Plot Thickens

Luke and the otterwife walked side by side, both keeping a hard eye out for Roland.

“Mam, what is you name?” Luke inquired.

“Riverwind.” replied the otter automatically.

“So your a river otter? You don't look to much like one. Your fur is browner, like the sea otters. Not light like the river ones.”

“My father was a sea otter and mother a river otter, a cross. My parents stayed living on the river, and I had a river otter's name.”

“Was it easy growing up in whatever village you were in?”

“Never lived in a village, we lived outside of one though. Whenever it had big meetings or events we always traveled over there. The adults understood my... heritage, but the kids thought I was strange because my fur was slightly discolored.”

Luke nodded understandably, “eh... who is Roland to you mam'?”

“I don't know anymore...” retorted Riverwind darkly.

Luke was taken aback, “Woah, you two must have some past.”

Riverwind scowled, “Oh yes we do... did he ever mention me anywhere at anytime at all?”

“I... really don't know him that well, just as a lieutenant. After that... meeting we where supposed to attend, I do believe he hinted at you.”

Riverwind's blue eyes brightened up considerably, but she kept silent still scanning the town for sight of him.

“Mom!”

Riverwind twirled around smiling at a male river otter who came running up, he had very light fur with a blue and green habit on.

“What is it Roland?”

The young otter was panting heavily as he tried his best to say, “ Something.. in woods... got.. Lilly...”

Riverwind grabbed her son, “Where?”

0o0o----

“Did you hear that?”

Riju paused, “No I didn't.”

Roland closed his eyes and perked his ears up intentionally. Soon his eyes popped open and jaw dropped somewhat, “It's a beasts muffled screams!”. Roland began to run in the direction he had heard it from.

It took a moment for Riju to realize what he meant, somebeast was in trouble.

Roland ran until he got into a clearing with tall grass and few trees. There stood a lanky rat holding a small dagger to a young sea ottermaiden.

“Let her go, if you dare as much as lay a finger on her this scimitar will find it's way into your head!”

The rat began to laugh, “What have you to say? I demand food and money, or this little maid ere' gets it!”. The rat began to circle his dagger around the maids head, fightening her.

Riju had caught up with Roland, “Roland, what the hell is going on?”

Roland was so concentrated upon the rat he was oblivious to Riju and started to growl.

The rat pointed toward Roland, “You didn't hear me did you? I said go get me some food and money and I'll consider letting this..”. The rat's eye twitched and his pointed finger curled. His arm fell to his side as he fell on to his knees, eyes in the back of his head, the obvious sign a of a dead beast. A small silver dagger with a black handle penetrated from the rat's neck.

“A dagger of woe... here?” mumbled Roland just enough to where Riju could hear.

“Dagger of woe?”

“Yes, from the Clan of Woe.. It's sort of an assassin's clan. Their daggers are very special and unique, so their easily identifiable..... The last time I met anyone from the clan was.... Riverwind.”

An otterwife with horribly red colored eyes came bounding out of the bushes, running toward the maiden. She stopped short bowed down, cupping her hands on her head in pain, seemingly.

Roland ran over to support her as she fell, “Shh shh, it'll be all right.”

Riju was utterly confused, the wife was in pain, but had no physical wounds.

“Who are you? Get away from my mom!”

Roland looked at Riverwind and than at the maid, “Lilly?”

Lilly was astonished, “How did you know my name?”

“That isn't the problem, go get this village's healer. We'll need a bed for Riverwind.”

Lilly took of running. Roland sat Riverwind's head in his lap.

“How... how did you know her name was Lilly?” asked Riju.

“She's my daughter...”

“Uh... oh. Why did Riverwind... do... that?”

Roland hesitated before he began to talk, “ When I met her, her parents were still alive very well. We were just about fifteen seasons then. Her parents had her being trained for the... Clan of Woe. The exact clan I wanted in. One day an opposing clan found and killed her parents right in front of her. Instead of being sad, she was very very very infuriated and gained a horrible mess of bloodwrath that day. She slaughtered the attackers mercilessly until they didn't even look like beasts anymore. I had found out shortly prior that the attack was to take place and ran all of the way from River Ridge to her parents home, near a partnering village. When I found her she was tearing up the home in a rage destroying everything in sight, until she spotted me. She jumped on me and was trying her hardest to stab me, but she realized it was me and the red in her eyes left her. A few weeks later the Clan of Woe released her because of her durability to get into bloodwrath when in battle was high. She could no longer concentrate as a fighter and was forced to retire. I, of course stayed with her and today you see the outcome of what has happened.”

A voice erected from behind Riju, “That's... horrible.”

“Oh, hey Luke.” said Riju

“I see you found her.” addressed Luke to Roland.

“Aye, was she looking for me?” said Roland ,not looking up.

“Yes, she had asked me in the square about you. I remembered what you said at that meeting and I had to help her find you.”

Roland the second, who had been standing right next to Luke asked Roland, “What do you mean 'the outcome of what has happened'?”

Roland was speechless, he instantly knew who the otter was, “Well.. er... you see.”

“And how did you get her to calm down so fast? Only me and my sister can do that.”

Roland began to sweat, “I.. just... can?”

Roland Jr. sat on the ground sighed, “Nevermind, just tell me later, kay?”

0o0o---

Time passed fast, Lilly soon returned with the healer.

“Not again... why this time?” the healer, a very short squirrel, questioned Roland.

“She does it continuously!”

“Yes, a few weeks ago there were rumors of vermin in the woods, and she quickly caught the bloodwrath, storming out the door during our meeting and into the woods. We had a search party out for her and when we found her, she had three decapitated heads sitting on the ground right by her where she was lying down. After that she got mad because the doctor wouldn't let her see her children and she beat the doctor until we found her. It happened before even that, but not nearly as serious. Look we need to get her to the infirmary so she can recover.”

The healer, Riju, and Roland supported her to until they reached the infirmary where they laid her down onto a bed.

The healer put on a serious face, “You can stay, but don't talk to her at all! She needs to recover, but if she wakes and starts talking to you, that's fine. She should be alright by tomorrow, judging by the last incident of course.”

The squirrel took off out the door in a hurry, not bothering to say goodbye.

Roland sat in a chair in the corner while Lilly and Junior sat by their mother. Lilly sometimes wept in her mothers bed while Roland the second had a stern face on, sometimes glancing over to Roland, but most of the time he had his eyes closed and was in deep thought. Riju was standing by the doorway, next to Luke.

0o0o---

It was getting late and Luke had to meet Martin and Rose for dinner.

“I've got to leave, I hope Riverwind recovers well.” stated Luke.

“Bye Luke.” replied Riju.

Luke took off out the door, nearly stumbling in the doorway. Rose had given him directions earlier that day, so he knew exactly where he was going. Past the newly built meeting hall, which was the biggest structure in the village, easily identifiable. Beyond the Oak and Ale tavern, which was the only place in the village where travelers could find peace and quiet from their travels, newly built as well. Take a left when you reach a house with a messed up picket fence, and the house on the end of the road, the biggest one. He came up to the house and knocked on the door three times.

Luke waited for a few seconds and the door thrust open, Martin stepping out, grinning, “Hiya' Luke, Rose is just about done with dinner. Come on in!”

Martin held the door open for Luke as he walked in. Luke followed Martin through what seemed like the living room, a big space with some furniture, a couch, a few chairs, and a table in the middle of the room, which was used as a dining table. They stepped down a step which transcended from the living room to the kitchen. It wasn't as spacious as the living room, and had a counter in the middle of the room next to the pot where Rose was cooking.

“Rose, Luke's here.”

Rose paced over to Luke and hugged him tight, “Welcome to our home, please make yourself comfortable.”

Luke blushed. It felt awkward knowing that these could be his parents, “Eh... thanks!”

“Mom you barely even know Luke and your hugging him already...”

Rose gave the Acacia a stern look, “This mouse saved your father's life, Acacia, as you should know. Treat him with respect.”

Acacia crossed her arms, “Fine mother.”

“Yes mam...”, Retorted Rose.

“Yes ....mam.”

“Good, you receive half your portion of food today.”

Acacia's jaw dropped in disbelief, “What!”

0o0o----

“Mother is here.”

“Yes she is Ivy and I see we'll be forced to lay eyes upon her again.”

Ivy laughed, “Why do you hate her so, little brother?”

“Many things, the fact she handed me to Helo when I was practically past the toddler stage, how she stabbed me when I borrowed food from you, how she...”, the fox limped over in pain.

“You shouldn't get too upset, excited, or move around a lot. Your wounds will take some time to heal.”

Brocktree1
August 11th, 2006, 11:55 PM
Chapter 21- Part two

A ferret interrupted their conversation, “Sabreclaw will see you now.”

The two timid foxes entered an enormous room, that had bookshelves against the walls, a big round table in the middle of the room, and a very sophisticated globe with many strange instruments all around it.

A very deep voice echoed in the room, “Ahh, welcome to my meeting room, you must be Scrum.”

Scrum showed no fear of the voice, “That is I, I've come to deliver the news that Helo's tribe is.... destroyed.”

“Helo.... you must mean that beast I gave many beasts to to guard the forest a long time ago. Tis' a pity that one.”

Scrum's fist tightened, That's all he ever was? A guard?

A very large figure descended down spiraling stairs in the corner of the room, the wildcat Sabreclaw.

“Sit down fox... and miss.” commanded Sabreclaw.

The two foxed sat down at the large table while Sabreclaw sat down on the opposite side.

“Are you two foxes the children of my seer?”

Both said, “Yes.”

“She is still alive and well if that's what your wondering.” , cut in a voice coming from the stairs. A fox was walking down the stairs slowly going along the rail. The fox was dressed in a yellow robe and looked as young as her daughter.

“Hello mother, still as young as ever I see? Why won't you die.”

The seer chuckled, “ Don't get your hopes up and trust me I don't plan on dieing soon. Age alone can't kill me.”

“You see, your mother and I have been planning an attack upon... the world. It's done now and we are nearly ready to execute it. All that is required now is to assemble my army and we shall attack, starting with all of the tribes to the north.”

Scrum glared at the wildcat, “Your telling me this, why?”

“Well all of my commanders know my plan.”

Smiling wickedly and understandably at the same time Scrum demanded, “ Tell me about it... all..”

Brocktree1
August 14th, 2006, 08:44 PM
Last chapter 22 - runaway

Luke couldn't believe it, Rose had insisted he spend the night in their house instead of in the tavern, The Oak and Ale. Luke understood a beast being grateful for being saved, but inviting him into their home like that and treating him like...... a relative, someone they had known a long time and had deep relations with.

Outside, the birds had just began to chirp and the sun poked it's massive head out of the horizon. Luke was an early riser, as he had been accustomed all his life. He yawned and stroked his whiskers throughly as he opened the back door to receive some morning air. The back yard was very private, it faced the woods surrounding Noonvale.

Luke sat down on the hard, wooden porch and began thinking, It's good to know my parents did care for me and just didn't abandon me because they didn't want me. I wonder if they know.... I mean believe that I am their son as well. There is enough evidence my talk, but none practical. I need some concrete evidence before I make any moves....

The door opened from behind Luke, “Morning Luke...”

Luke recognized the voice right away, “Morning Acacia...”

Acacia took a seat right by Luke, “You a early bird too?”

“A what?”

“You know... that saying everybeast says. The early bird gets the worm.”

Luke shook his head, “Never heard it in me life.”

“I... I'm sorry about yesterday.. I was uh.... not in a good mood.”

“Not a very good excuse, but it's okay.”

Acacia blushed, “I.... have a question.”

“Shoot..”

“Are you eh.. do you know my mum from a long time ago?”

Luke raised a brow, “No mam' I don't why do you ask?”

Acacia picked up a small golden object that was hidden underneath the black habit she was carrying, “Look here, there's a picture of my mom and you.”

Luke attempted to take the locket, but failed when Acacia stuck it back into the habit, “Where did you find that?”

Acacia glared into Luke's eyes, “Are you my lost brother, Luke?”

“What makes you think that?” inquired Luke, jumping back.

“Can't you see past your own nose? I've suspected it ever since my little brother called you dad, it just dawned on me the... resemblance and when you told your.... heartwarming story.”

Luke shuttered, he was surprised at the mouses determination, “I... I don't even know.”

Acacia took out a dirk hidden in the clothing,”You... your just more proof my father doesn't believe in me.”

Luke stood in horror as his began swaying the dirk left to right, “ What... do you mean by that?”

“I despise you any my younger brother. My father has always expected to me to become a good mousewife, when on the inside I am a born warrior. When my younger brother was born, he started to talk about how he was to be just like him, a warrior. My mother even agreed to that! I used to try to get them to believe I was going to be a warrior, but they persisted in raising me as a mousewife. How stereotypical is that? When I realized I was not going to gain their acceptance, I made it seem like their plans for me was going well when I actually trained with this here dirk.”

Acacia began to run toward Luke, and raised the dirk. Luke had a hard time dodging Acacia's attacks, as it was apparent somebeast trained her. Acacia barely managed to graze Luke's arm when something unexpected happened.

“Stop....”

Acacia's eyes opened in fright.

“Is that what you really think Acacia?” said Martin, with the most serious face anybeast would be afraid of. He was standing on the side of the house, carrying logs in one hand and sword in other.

Acacia was speechless, she had no idea what to do. She dropped her dirk and stood, staring into Martin's face in fear.

Martin began to walk toward Acacia, “You came at Luke with intent to kill, my own daughter.”

Martin balled his fists as Acacia replied, “But.. I... uh..”

By now Martin had the darkest face Luke had seen on as he asked Acacia, “You... think your a warrior?”

Acacia seemed to gain some courage, “I.... am one.”

Luke was stunned at what Martin did next, he swung his fist and hit Acacia square in the jaw. Acacia lost her balance quickly and went crashing into the wall. She supported herself as blood ran down her nose and looked into Martin's eyes, “A warrior does not cry.”

Martin gritted his teeth and pulled Acacia up off the ground, “No that's a killer.” Martin threw Acacia across the porch and she rolled on the hardwood. This time Acacia was scared, but stood up and continued to look Martin in the eye.

“Warriors, maidens, and killers are all treated differently Acacia. Warrior, male or maid, is treated the same.”

Martin was about a foot away from Acacia as he raised his arms, seemingly ready to strike Acacia with all he had. Acacia closed her eyes. Martin shot both his hands at her and cupped them around her, he hugged her.

Martin began to sob on Acacia's shoulder, “Where did I go wrong?”

Acacia opened an eye and soon began to weep on his. All the while Luke standing there, bewildered.

0o0o----

“You... tried to kill Luke! What the hell is wrong with you Acacia!”

Acacia had done nothing to her mother's plea except stare into the ground.

Martin came to her defense, “She did it out of confusion.”

Rose swung her arms in the air, “What do we do! I've never expected this to happen! It completely took me off guard. Our daughter is a whole different beast that we've thought she has been for a long time!”

“I've already done everything we need to do, I disciplined her like I would discipline a warrior if he or she ever tried to pull something like that.”

Rose cupped her hands through her hair, “Acacia..... why?”

Martin answered for her, “She was confused.”

“Bad reason! Our daughter tried to kill our son in cold blood while he was unarmed.”

All of the color in Luke's cheeks were gone, they considered him to be their son. Martin had caught onto the sentence as well.

“We don't know yet...”

Acacia interrupted while pulling the locket out of the habit she was still holding, “Here's proof, its Luke's.”

Rose took the locket from her hand and studied it, “ That nice badger made this for us. I remember.... Acacia where did you get this?”

Acacia sneered, “ I found it lying on the ground.... isn't it just amazing?”

Rose's jaw dropped, “What is wrong with you?”

Brocktree1
August 14th, 2006, 08:55 PM
Chapter 22 part 2

The mousemaid began to cry, “Nothing!”

Acacia stormed out of the room they were in and her footsteps echoed differently as she entered different rooms.

“Hallway....Kitchen....Living Room...Stairs.... Her room. Good.” said Martin

Rose sat down on her bed and began to cry, tears running down her cheeks like water falling from a fall, “ M..Martin, why is she so confused, why didn't we see this?”

Luke sat in the corner of the room, not sure what to say or do. Acacia had hid her true personality perfectly. She was definitely a fighter at heart, but what kind?

0o0o----

Time passed by. All three of the mice had sat in silence for nearly an hour. Martin stood and stretched, “She sure fooled us. If she wants to be a warrior, we might as well give her a chance!”

“It requires discipline and the ability to control your impulses. She isn't ready to become one at all.” stated Luke.

“Luke, I'm sorry this couldn't be a more warming moment. I mean... we've just figured out your our son, but Acacia... she is our daughter.... you must understand.” said Rose gloomily.

“I understand....”

Martin interrupted, “You know I oughta' check out whats up with Acacia, see if she's realized something.”

Both Rose and Luke followed Martin upstairs willingly, wanting to see Acacia. Martin was the first in front of the door. It was opened slightly, so he gently pushed the door wide open.

A bead of sweat fell from Martin's face, “The window's open.”

Right when Rose had heard Martin, she flew up the steps and into the room. Looking around, she spotted a small note on her bed,

Dear Mother, Father, and Luke,

By the time you get this note, you will know that I've ran away and might be wondering why. I've gone to find out my destiny. I am not telling you where I'm headed because I don't know myself. I've taken all of my money that I've saved up over the last few seasons. Please don't worry about me, I'll come back home one day and than, hopefully, you'll understand me and me myself.

Luke I'm sorry, I don't know what came over me. My jealousy cut the string that held on to what was right and what was wrong. I'll mend that string, I promise.

With the best of love, to my parents, Martin and Rose, and to my brothers, Luke and Urran, Acacia

Rose crumpled the note, with a dry face, “No... we gained one and lost one.”

“She ran away... didn't she?” asked Luke.

Rose nodded and paced out of the room, not looking at either mouse.

Luke addressed Martin, “Aren't we going to send some sort of search party?”

“They would get lost.... she is probably in the middle of the woods now wondering aimlessly. She'll arrive somewhere.”

“What about vermin! What about Kotir! What about River Ridge!”

Martin glanced up at Luke, “Shut up...”

Luke was taken off guard, stuttering, “W..w...w...what?”

“She might be somewhat confused but she's definitely not ignorant. She'll be fine. Hopefully her questions will be answered.”

“It's the price we pay for getting you back. If you didn't die, why would she die?”

“That's a crazy way to think, so your just going to let her go like that?”

Martin shrugged, “ Yeah, if she stayed she would feel caged up and forced to become what she obviously doesn't.... isn't.”

“So there's no way...”

“Nope....”

“Than I'll do it! I'll find her! I thought you were loving parents, but apparently your not.”

Martin unsheathed his sword and pointed it directly at Luke's neck, “No, you will stay here. I'll teach you the ways of the sword. You will learn, as there is a war on the way.”

This all was... so unexpected. So.... impossible. There were no words to describe what Luke felt at the moment. He had expected a warm welcoming into his parents home, alas as fate has it, it was not.

Authors note: Wew! My 'prologue' to the story is done! This isn't the main story, just really to test my skills as a writer. The main body of the story is going to take place about five seasons in the future. I'm going to make it where you won't have to read this story to understand the other one, even though it will ruin some seemingly unimportant things. It's going to have a lot more action because it's the part where Sabreclaw attacks.

The next part of the story HAS NOTHING to do with the next fan fiction I said I was planning a chapter or so back. That story is very indepth and will require a lot more skill to do. All I can do is listen to me Honors English 1 teacher, and write until then.

Okay about the whole father taking a few hits at the daughter. You must understand that Martin was treating her like a fighter who had just tried to MURDER another, not his daughter. He of course didn't kill her because she was his daughter and I'm positive he would never kill anybody who was confused like that. He disciplined her like a warrior would, and hugged her like your supposed to after the issue, even though she deserved a bigger beating. Please in your review tell me how good the story was, whatever out of ten! Tell me it's strengths and weaknesses, and please even if this is a year after the moment I wrote this feel free to comment on it. Feel free to ask me anything I haven't covered in the reviews.

Brocktree1
August 19th, 2006, 09:50 PM
That's the end! I can't edit it and forgot to mention it so yeah.

I began to write a 'sequal' but instead I've sort of ditched the project and am working on something else. Might get around to it in a few months...