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Nora the Rover
July 11th, 2003, 09:31 PM
I sincerely apologize for the long wait for my Spearlady chapters. I have another fan-fic, called, 'The Tiarnanraith, that I've been working on for several months as well. I haven't really posted it on any sites, except for Starfire's forum. Hopefully, this will keep you busy and happy until I'm able to post the next chapter of my other story...


The Tiarnanraith By Nora the Rover



Prolouge:

It was a cold, icy and snowy afternoon high in the Northern Mountains. Smoke billowed from a small hut's chimney, to mingle with the falling snow. It was almost evening, and nights in the mountains could be deadly with cold.
Two female red squirrels, a young one and an older one, sat by the fireplace inside the hut, listening to the wind whistling through cracks in the boards of the walls.
The hut was decorated sparsely, with a few woven rugs lying about, a rough, wooden table, a few chairs, and a longbow hanging over the fireplace.
The older squirrel, Greenbirch, stood, walking over to the table, looking at the cold food set out upon it. "Your father said he'd be back by sunset, Kat. I hope no harm has come to Rowan."
Katriona, the younger squirrel and was but a dibbun, heard a noise outside the door. "No mama, I 'ear papa cummin' now!" Greenbirch sighed with relief and opened the door for her husband. The tall squirrel stumped into the room carrying a load of firewood and an old battle-axe, leaving a trail of snow upon the floor. Greenbirch helped Rowan to the fireplace as Katriona closed the door behind him.
Rowan set his load down, and took off his thick cloak, spreading it out flat before the fire to dry. "'Ow are me two bonny lasses doin', eh? 'Ope Ah'm no' too late fer dinner, 'twas freezin' cold oot there, an' the snow 'eld me oop a wee bit." Greenbirch hid a smile as she chided her husband, "Oh you great lump! You've left snow all over the floor and your dinner's gone cold. I was near sick worrying over you, and all you have to say is that?" Rowan smiled, "Och, yer a sair cruel 'un, Greenbirch. I shoulda stayed oot an' frozen t'death in the snow."
The small family ate a good dinner of cold stew, oatcakes, and apple pudding. Greenbirch sent Katriona off to bed, and Rowan sat by the fire, smoking his pipe and sipping warm mint tea.
Greenbirch tucked Katriona into her warm, straw bed, covered with plenty of quilts and blankets. Katriona smiled sleepily, "G'night, mama." Greenbirch nodded, and quietly stole from the room.
The little squirrel listened to the sounds of her parents talking, and the howl of the wind outside.
"Ah saw summat strange farther doon the mountain while gatherin' firewood.", Rowan was saying, "Ah dunno whit et was, but it might've been some creeturs."
"By the fur! I do hope they're not out in the snowstorm!" Greenbirch exclaimed. Rowan shrugged, "Ah dunno if they were guidbeasts or not. Yeh can't always tell, d'ye ken? There were mair than a few o' them, might o' been some sairt o' group or army."
Katriona listened until her parents' voices were drowned out by the wind whistling by the walls of her small room. Howling like a wild animal, moaning through the cracks in the wood like the wraiths of things long-gone. She wondered if those creatures out on the mountain would survive the night. She knew the dangers of staying out too long in the winter snow. Pushing the strange thoughts from her mind, she slipped off to sleep.
Not knowing how long she had slept, Katriona was suddenly waken from a good dream by Greenbirch. "What is it, Mama?", She asked. Greenbirch lifted Katriona out of bed, and led her into the main room. Nora saw her father standing near the hearth, armed with his battle-axe. Greenbirch took the longbow from over the hearth, and notched an arrow from the quiver to her bow. Kicking a rug aside from it's place on the floor, Greenbirch exposed a wooden trap-door. Katriona looked about in confusion, "What's goin' on?" Rowan knelt, and patted Kat, "Everything'll be fine. We jes' saw a band o' vermin 'eadin' oop the mountain. Yeh've gotter 'ide in the cellars fer protection. Promise us yeh won't coom oot until we tell yeh tae, unnerstand?" Katriona nodded, close to tears, as her mother hugged her, "Be brave, little one." Greenbirch then pulled out a strange, transparent green stone pendant from her pocket and dropped it into Kat's paws. "I want you to keep this safe. As of now, you are the Tiarnanraith."
Before Kat could ask any questions, she was hurrying down into the musty cellars as the trapdoor shut, leaving the little squirrel in complete darkness.
After waiting for what seemed hours, she heard noises above, paws stomping, cries, yells, clashing of weapons, wood and metal breaking, and shouting. Kat clenched the strange amulet in her paws, wondering what could be going on.
After a while, the sounds died off, but Kat remained in the cellars for a few hours, waiting for her parents. Unable to bear the wait any longer, the young squirrel opened the trap-door, only to turn her head away in shock at the scene that greeted her. Dead vermin lay everywhere, the house lay in ruins and had been plundered. Greenbirch and Rowan were among the dead. They lay still, and ice-cold.
Kat ran over to them, tears coursing down her face, as she shook them, crying. "Mama, wake up, please! Wake up, Papa!"
They didn't wake.
Such was the cruelty of vermin. Particularily the band of Zephan the Fierce.

I'll have to post the chapters in separate posts...

Nora the Rover
July 11th, 2003, 09:40 PM
Chapter: The First

The Spring of Tall Willows:
'Tis a lovely day, though a little cold for early spring. Just a few days ago, all the abbeydwellers held a magnificent Spring feast in the Great Hall. There was food aplenty for everybeast, Redwall Abbey has always been known for it's good fare. We also celebrated the lives of those lost during the hard winter. Alas, we have very few alive left from the days of the Great Battle at Salamandastron, during the time of the restoration of Martin's Sword, and the terrible epidemic of Dryditch Fever. There are only two among us that are left, Mara, the badger guardian of Redwall, and old Friar Dumble.
There are, however, the descendants of those great, long-gone heroes still living about Redwall. Young Llyad, whom we call Lly, the grandson of Samkim the Warrior, and Burrem, the grandson of Arula. It's rather odd, but they're both the best of friends, just as their grandparents were.
(I'm sorry if I tend to ramble a bit.) There is more news of our abbey: We are expecting the Guosim to visit sometime soon, and we're preparing a large feast for them.
Oh dear, it's almost time for supper. I must make haste and wash the ink from my paws.
Sister Rosaline,
Recorder of Redwall Abbey, Mossflower Country.

An old, portly dormouse made his way about Redwall Abbey's kitchens, inspecting bubbling pots and chiding kitchen helpers. He paused momentarily to flick a speck of dust from a new copper ladle he was carrying about, then carried on towards the ovens. "Brother Edmund! What in the name of fur are you doing! Those hazelnuts are meant for cooking, not eating!", the doormouse scolded a tubby hedgehog, "And Sister Sigrid, make sure not to roll that pastry too thin.", he added to a mouse nearby.
A young mole trundled into the kitchens, followed by a squirrel. The squirrel was tall, and wore a dark green tunic. The mole, like most, was short, and wore the usual dark brown, earth-colored smock. The dormouse annoyedly hurried up to them, "Is there anything I can do for you, young sirs?" The mole gave the mouse a large grin, "Hurr, aye, Froir Dumbly, zurr. I wurr wunnerin' whurr moi ole nuncle Foremole be's. 'E said us'ns cudd 'elp 'im an' is molers t'make Deeper n' Ever Poi."
"Aye, sir.", the squirrel added, "I was going to help, too. Dinner is just about ready, though, and I'm not sure that I'll be of much assistance. Maybe I could go and get some preserved fruits..."
Friar Dumble chuckled, "Ah, get out, you two. I know you're only plotting a slyer way to get to the food first. Why, last week you actually hid in the lower cupboards, and ate a full supply of candied chestnuts. I've never seen a more rougish pair than you two. If you're so hungry, here's two small leek an' gravy pasties. Now be off, or help set the tables, or do something better than wasting you're time trying to plot ways to get food from my kitchens."
Burrem and Lly scurried off to Cavern Hole, chuckling and laughing as they ate the pasties. "Old Friar Dumble tries to act mean, but he can't hide that he's a nice old fellow. He didn't really get that upset when he found a season's supply of candied chestnuts gone missing.", Lly laughed. Burrem nodded, "Hurr, 'ee can be's a good 'ole creetur, but Oi still wudd 'ave loiked t' 'elp make Deeper n' Ever Poi. Tastes wunnerful, et do." Lly and Burrem made their way down the carved stone steps to Cavern Hole, and sat at the table for dinner. A short while later, most creatures had seated themselves and the servers brought out the food. Abbess Arnora, a thin, stern-looking mouse, presided over the dinner, sitting at the head of the table. Mara, the great, silver-furred badger-guardian of Redwall Abbey sat on the right. On the left side sat the abbey cellar-keeper, an old hedgehog named Fergus.
The abbess stood, looking over the creatures through her small spectacles, and addressed the crowd of Redwallers, "Friends, as you all know, we recently celebrated the Spring Feast. I'd like to again thank the creatures who worked so hard upon it. The Guosim should be arriving any day now, but I ask of their help. I do not want any alarm or creatures to panic, but, as your abbess, I worry of the safety of Redwall. There have been reports of vermin bands all throughout Mossflower, and we fear that they might attack the abbey. Luckily, at the moment, we have plenty of weapons, and Skipper's crew to help. The Log-a-Log of the Guosim has also agreed to help us protect the abbey and its creatures.
You've no need to panic, for this is only a precaution, and we're doing this for the safety of Redwall."
Hushed murmurings rippled through Cavern Hole, most of the creatures were rather surprised, and hadn't known that there had been danger about in Mossflower of late. The news that the abbess had told them settled upon the Redwallers like a dark cloud, though it was only a fear of worry and doubt in the back of their minds.
The dinner was soon finished, and Lly strolled out to the orchard, alone. The moonlight glinted off the still pond, illuminating the soft, rose-hued stones of Redwall Abbey, and streaming through the old, stained-glass windows. He had lived in the abbey his whole life, listening to stories of his grandfather, Samkim the Warrior, whom he had never known. He wondered why the abbess had been so worried about the vermin bands wandering through Mossflower. There had been a small few here and there occasionally, but never this many. It didn't seem like a threat, though, and Lly was sure that, even without Skipper's crew and the Guosim, the Redwallers were well able to defend themselves.
Lly sat under a tall, blooming cherry tree, staring up at the soft stars above in the warm, spring sky. The young squirrel lay back against the roots, thinking and pondering. There hadn't been an abbey warrior since his grandfather died. Badgermum Mara didn't always like to talk of the old times, she said there were too many sad memories that were best forgotten. Friar Dumble often told of the hawks and eagles, whom he still admired, but he didn't remember much else from the time he was a Dibbun.
Lly wished that he had known his grandfather better. He probably would have known what to do in a time of danger. Lly didn't want to dwell on the negative, he allowed himself to be lulled to sleep by the sound of the wind blowing through the trees of Mossflower wood.
In his dreams, a familiar figure appeared; a mouse, dressed in full armour and carrying a sword of great beauty. It was Martin! Lly had only heard stories of the great founder of the abbey, and seen the pictures in the tapestry in the Great Hall. Lly watched in disbelief as the warrior of old came forward through a mist, holding the great sword before him. Martin spoke:

"Take up the warrior's sword,
Fight for the freedom and right,
Go through the Wood, cross o'er the ford,
Before the eve of spring's fifth night.

Find the one of the Tiarnan clan,
And the great, fierce-eyed one,
Find the one who had been banned,
And the friend of a warrior's son.

Go soon, for time is running fast,
There is much to mend,
Go before the chance is passed,
before a dark and evil end.

Martin faded into the mists, and Lly found himself, again, in the orchard, wide awake.

Nora the Rover
July 11th, 2003, 09:44 PM
The Tiarnanraith, chapter the second:

Two creatures made their way down a green mountain slope, singing and talking, giddy with the intoxicating season of spring. The tall and majestic Northern mountains jutted into the azure sky above them, misty and snowy. The slopes below, however, were green with new grass, and filled with blooming wildflowers, mossy rocks, scrubby plants, and dotted with a few patches of melting snow here and there.
The first creature was a tall, fierce-eyed, young falcon, with tawny brownish feathers, and sharp talons.
The second creature was a young red squirrel, simply garbed in a green tunic and cloak, an old longbow and quiver of arrows slung across her back.
Whitfeather, the falcon, scanned the lower slopes, "Ach, 'tis a bonny day tae be travelin'. Whit with yon flowers an' green stuff growin' aboot, d'ye ken, Kat?", she asked.
Katriona, the squirrelmaid, nodded, "Aye, Whit. 'Tis also a nice tae know that yer faither let us go travelin'. Make yeh feel summat responsible an' all."
Whitfeather nodded, "Ah, 'e's no' a bad auld fellow. 'E jest needs tae no' worry sae much."
The two talked, telling stories and jesting on their way down the mountain.
Katriona had been found by a clan of falcons as a Dibbun. She had been wandering about the snowy mountains, half-starved, freezing, and scared almost out of her wits. She was taken back to the falcons' eyries and caves, and was well cared for. Though, when she was asked after she'd recovered how she had come to be there in the snow Mountains of the North, she didn't reply. Most of the falcons assumed that she had most likely been abandoned or lost, and spoke no more of it.
Katriona had befriended Whitfeather, who was the daughter of the falcon Laird Cullann, and granddaughter of the falcon Laird Rocangus. They got along quite well, and Katriona, now with a family of falcons, soon began to forget her traumatic experience that had taken place before she arrived there. The only thing that linked her with her past was the odd greenish pendant her mother had left with her.
The squirrelmaid was raised by the falcons, also acquiring their odd Northland speech from them. Katriona felt rather isolated at times, as she had never seen anything or anyone beyond the mountains, save for a few traveling gypsies, whom she had gotten her longbow from, and the odd wanderer.
As she grew older, she became more and more curious, so finally, Laird Cullann gave her his consent to go traveling, as well as his daughter.
Katriona and Whitfeather made it to the base of the mountain in the late afternoon, hot, tired, and hungry. A large wood lay ahead, through which wound an old, overgrown path. Katriona stopped and rested on a rock near the outskirts of the forest. Whitbeak perched nearby on a low-hanging branch of a tree. After resting a short while, and eating several oatcakes from the pack Katriona was carrying, the two moved on into the woods.
Katriona trudged through the damp loam of the woodland floor, alongside Whitfeather.
The falcon, who was rather beginning to dislike the whole idea of the journey, began to complain loudly. "Och, whit Ah wouldnae give tae be flyin'; 'stead o' walkin' through dead leaves. Kat, cannae yeh 'urry oop a bit?"
The squirrelmaid shrugged, "Whit for? We 'ave as lang as we want tae travel, there's nae need tae 'urry."
Whitfeather clacked her beak grumpily, "Ach, Ah jest don' like these 'ere woods. They're tae dark an' musty. An' they smell funny.", she added.
Katriona sniffed the air, "Aye, et does rather smell odd. 'Tis probably jest ould rottin' leaves an' whatnot. Coom on, let's find a river or summat, Ah'm sair thirsty."
As they moved onward, the odd scent began to grow stronger; a musty, almost sickly-sweet smell. The pair walked on, feeling rather exhausted from the long hike down the mountain, or so they thought. Katriona stifled a yawn, watching blurry tree shadows mingle with those of the forest floor as she walked. Whitfeather stopped for a moment, her eyes drooping. Katriona stifled another yawn, "Coom on noo, Whit, this is nae time tae be nappin'. Ah know 'twould be nice tae rest a moment, but Ah don't feel guid aboot these woods, an' Ah keep thinkin' we're bein' followed, whit with all these shadows movin' aboot."
The falcon waved a wing groggily, "Nae, yeh goo on a'ead. Ah'll catch up later."
Katriona rubbed at her dark brown eyes, which were becoming rather bleary, "We 'ave tae move on, though Ah'm terribly tired fer some reason."
Dark figures materialized into the shadows and gloom about them. Katriona would have done something about it, but she felt as though she were too tired to do anything. Suddenly, a larger, darker figure hurtled into the two from behind, startling their numbed senses.

Nora the Rover
July 11th, 2003, 09:50 PM
The Tiarnanraith, Chapter the Third:

The shores of Salamandastron were wet with heavy rain. A fine mist had also rolled in, enwreathing the mountain fortress. High above Salamandastron, a low rumble of thunder sounded.
A small, cloaked figure made it's way cautiously to a side entrance of the fortress.
Aedwen, the cloaked hare, sighed with relief after looking carefully about the empty halls, seeing nobeast in sight.
Quietly as he could, the young hare hurried up the dark passage.
Just as Aedwen thought he was safe, he was grabbed from behind and given a thorough ear-boxing. Turning, the hare faced his sister, Ardwinna, who began chastising him loudly, "Where have you been, you lazy, worthless, lump? The old pater will do more'n scold you this time!", she yelled.
Aedwen rubbed his smarting ears, not bothering to remove his drenched cloak, "Where I've been is my own business, an' the only bad thing Papa could do is report me to the colonel! Now let me be, rotten snootynose!"
Ardwinna snorted with annoyance, "This is the seventh time you've missed soldier trainin' this season, Aed! Mum'll have something to jolly well say about it, wot, an' see if she doesn't! Papa's too soft with you!"
Aedwen sighed with exhasperation, and brushed past his sister. He stood at the end of the tunnel, which led onto the halls, and turned back to Ardwinna, "An' who are you to scold me, wot? Now-"
"Harrumph!", suddenly, the argument was broken into by the sound of another beast clearing it's throat, directly behind Aedwen. He turned, and came face to face with Colonel Cormac.
The Colonel nodded towards Aedwen, "Y'd best follow me, laddie. Cap'n Lairgren an' I want a word with ye."
Shuffling reluctantly after Cormac, Aedwen shot a hate-laden glance back at his sister, who, in reply, gave him a satisfied smirk.
Colonel Cormac led the young hare through winding tunnels, up to a large forge room, now unused. It's walls were lined with beautiful and dangerous weapons of all kinds, wrought by the Badger Lords and Ladies of the past. The young hare sat on a stool near the window.
Captain Lairgren, a tall, female hare, and Colonel Cormac then addressed him. The captain shook her head at the young hare, "You, sah, are a disgrace! Now I don't mean to offend you, wot. I'm just statin' the plain truth. As you know, Lord Urthwyte 'as been dead f'r three seasons now, an' 'e would've dealt with you far more harshly than we ever will. I unnerstand that you've been 'missin'' soldier trainin' quite a bit this season. What if a vermin army came marchin' up to our gates tomorrow, as they 'ave been troublin' woodlanders quite a bit o' late, fur forbid, an' we didn't 'ave enough trained soldiers to fight 'em off? What with no Badger Lord to 'elp us, we're in a very perilous position, doncha know. We need as many trained soldiers as we c'n get, every single one counts. Even you, young 'un. Ye just can't go about skippin' your classes, wot."
Colonel Cormac nodded in agreement, "Now what do you have to say for yourself, laddie buck?"
Aedwen shrugged, "I'm sorry. I...I have so many other things I'd rather do than learn to fight, y'know... I already know how to use a sword, an' a longbow, an' plenty o' other weapons. What do I need trainin' for, wot? I'm also sorry that I skipped today. I was searchin' about f'r more clues to that riddle that I found."
Cormac snorted, "Riddles? You've got to stop searchin' for that buried ballywotcumit treasure thingy, sah."
Aedwen broke in, "They're called the Tiarnanstones, Colonel."
"The Tiarnbally thing.", the Colonel nodded, "As I said, you've got to stop gettin' caught up in all this ridiculous legend an' old harewive's tales about buried treasure. You've got to focus on keepin' Salamandastron an' the surroundin' lands safe, an' attendin' soldier trainin'! Do you understand what I've said, wot?"
Aedwen nodded sulkily, "Yes, sah."
Captain Lairgren patted his back, "There, that's better, chin up, an' all that, wot. Next time, make sure ye make it to trainin', an' ye won't 'ave t' come in an' get another lecture."
Aedwen forced a small smile, and quickly left the chamber.
The Tiarnanstones were not an old harewives tale. He'd heard a few tales now and then about the mysterious stones, which had been stolen from a squirrel tribe long ago.
Aedwen knew that they were real for a fact, for he had found the Tiarnangael stone, and the clues to the others in a hidden cave while roaming far up the coast one day. Since then, he had been following the clues, and trying to find the other stones, without much luck, however.
Aedwen walked down the hall from the forge room, which had once belonged to Lord Urthwyte, also fondly known as 'Whiteghost' by many because of his once white fur, which had turned silver-grey in his latter seasons.
Suddenly, a hare runner named Seamus came hurrying past him, almost knocking him out of the way. Following the hare back to the forge room, he hid next to the large oaken doors, listening.
Seamus was quickly telling his news to the Captain and Colonel, though he was still quite out of breath, "Colonel, sah! News just came from the shore, Primula Fleetpaw, scout down on the coast, just sighted several ships on the horizon, wot. They should reach Salamandastron's shores by nightfall. I saw 'em meself, an' they don't look like friendly merchant ships. 'Tis a whole fleet o' them. Primula reckons they might be corsairs."
Aedwen hurried quickly off, wishing, regretfully, that he hadn't skipped soldier training after all.

Nora the Rover
July 16th, 2003, 10:36 AM
That's all I have at the moment, but I'm working on fourth chapter.