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Thread: The Runaway Galley Slaves (RP)

  1. #31
    Patroller Mulchior Lancer's Avatar
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    ((Not on a regular basis, but I've been to some places around the US. I'd love to see more though. And that's awesome that you get to go to China! I'd love to see it someday.))

    The deck of the Bloodrine was abuzz with activity from the newly freed woodlanders. While the mood was grim due to the unknown fate of Cale, Patchouli’s orders to start gathering supplies for the trek home were carried out. As Furlough, Patchouli, and Pascal headed into the Captain’s quarters, which acted as the temporary sick bay, a small band of the weaker slaves came together in unison. The group of former oarslaves felt guilty that they couldn’t have been more use in helping reclaim the ship from the corsairs.

    “We’ve gotta find a way ta help Patchy ‘n Furl with their quest.”

    “I ain’t goin’ on that suicide mission.”

    “Didn’t say ya had ta, but we gots ta think a sumthin’.”

    “Well, wot if we packed ‘em their vittles an’ supplies so they didn’t haveta?”

    “I like yer thinkin’ mate, come on lads, lets get a packin’.”


    In the sick bay Cale’s condition continued to worsen. Yarly and Driz dotted over the mouse as he muttered in his dreams. The two beasts dutifully stayed by Cale’s side, giving him water when the mouse croaked for it, and kept a cool clothe over his feverish head.

    Twezel spent her time fixing up Furlough’s cut, cleaning it before resorting to using a needle and a bit of thread to close the wound with a few stiches. Furl clenched hard on some cloth as the squirrel worked as delicately as she could, with Pascal keeping a firm grip on the otter’s shoulders to limit the squirming. The pain was intense, but Twezel knew what she was doing. Patchouli sat himself down next to his old oar partner once Twezel finished tying the thread closed. The hare looked both tired and distraught from the events of the evening. Furlough couldn’t imagine the weight the hare had on his shoulders, both from the revolt and the upcoming quest.

    Despite his own troubles, the colonel seemed well aware Furlough was distraught for killing Welts, and the experienced soldier did his best to encourage one who had his first taste of battle. Furl nodded at Patchouli and Pascal’s assertions that his actions were just. Furlough knew they were right; he did what any sensible creature would do given the situation. But then the hedgehog slipped in the suggestion of taking the lad home in front of Patchouli. Pascal figured Furlough would put up some resistance to his plan, but he hoped that perhaps a word from the colonel would change the otter’s mind.

    “I wuz only thinkin’ it might be good fer the lad to foller me an’ the others back to yer mountain an’ take ‘im home,” explained the concerned hedgehog. “Surely ye can see how killin’s takin’ its toll on the lad.”

    “No, I won’t go back!” blurted Furlough, before catching himself. Thankfully, Twezel had finished stitching his cheek and had a salve on, or he could’ve unintentionally hurt himself further. Seeing the confused expression on the Long Patrol hare’s face, Furl knew he couldn’t just drop the subject.

    Remaining quiet, Twezel finished working her mortar and pestle and created a healing salve to apply on both Patchouli and Furlough’s ravaged backs. Since her time as a fellow slave, the squirrel had sworn to herself to heal the hare’s, and later Furl’s, backs when the opportunity arose. While she couldn’t get rid of the scarring, Twezel would make sure their wounds wouldn’t get infected. As the three debated, she went to work on Patchouli’s back, applying the stinging salve while binding his wounds in bandages.

    “I lost control of m’self when fightin’ the weasel,” admitted Furlough with a sniff as he continued on. “He goaded me till I went berserk, my vision turnin’ red, and only thinkin’ about slayin’ him till I did. If I do go home, who’s t’ say I wouldn’t just snap an’ hurt somebeast on accident?”

    Furlough kept the words Welts mocked him with to himself; well aware his two friends would assure him he wasn’t the same as the vile weasel. Instead he kept the words buried deep inside to mull over some more.

    Furl swallowed hard before turning to Patchouli. “I’ve decided I’m gonna be a warrior instead, defendin’ beasts who can’t fight fer themselves.” The otter paused for a moment, collecting his thoughts. “If it ain’t too much to ask I’d like to learn under ye. The Long Patrol’s famed fer fearless warriors, an’ I’d be honored to work with ye. I’m a fast learner, an’ I promise I’ll follow orders.”

    The otter wanted piece of mind after his harrowing battle, and he thought that perhaps with training and discipline, he’d never have to worry about his rage taking over him again. The otter could’ve passed for a young Long Patrol recruit begging for the chance to prove himself on his first patrol. Pascal crossed his arms and shook his head in dismay.

    “I wuz worried bout this,” sighed Pascal. “Once ya walk this path lad yer never th’ same, err, no offense Patchouli. Many a good meanin’ warrior ends up buried in the ground. Lookit poor Cale, he fought an’ now he’s clingin’ to life. Yew wanna end up like ‘im?”

    Furlough took a glance back at Cale as the mouse groaned in pain. But having almost died at the paws of Wharll’s cruel whip, the otter had an idea about the suffering a warrior went through.

    “Better to die for standin’ up to cruelty than dyin’ an old beast doin’ nuth-OW!” cried Furlough as Twezel administered some healing salve on his still wounded back. “Ahoy there Twezel an’ watch wot yer doin’!”

    Twezel chuckled as she applied a bandage to one of Furlough’s open wounds. “Settle down there, I thought warriors took their healing with a stiff upper lip?” chided the squirrel in a disarming tone. Furlough took the hint and quieted down, wanting to prove he could handle the pain.

    As Furlough, Pascal, and Twezel heard Patchouli’s reply, there was a rapping at the door. Driz the shrew let the others be and opened the door. It was the grizzled hedgehog that took Kerg down to the galley.

    “Th’ stoat’s ready fer interrogatin’ when yer ready,” reported the hedgehog with a salute.

    --

    Down below an old squirrel and shrew guarded the two corsair prisoners. Kerg trembled in his seat as he waited for Patchouli to come down and chat with him. While the stoat was thankful he survived the battle on the deck, he knew he was a dead beast should Captain Ironteeth ever set eyes on him again. Kerg gulped and felt the side of his neck, making sure it was still there, though that was difficult with the manacles clamped tight on his paws. Having found himself in the position of an oarslave, the stoat almost felt a twinge of regret for what he put the slaves through, and hoped they would be more merciful to him.

    “Oh me grog, where’d ya put it?” croaked the voice of Peg Jed, held prisoner next to him on the bench. “Me head’s bangin’ like a drum.”

    “Dumped it on the floor,” responded the shrew in an unfriendly voice. “Pascal ordered that yer not ta have a drop. Ya may be a corsair, but we’re gonna make ya sober yet.”

    “Yer killin’ me!” whined Peg Jed, holding his head as he experienced the worst hangover of his life. Kerg’s old ways got the better of him and he kicked the recovering alcoholic.

    “Good job there watchin’ th’ slaves grogsnout,” growled Kerg. “It’s yer fault we’re in this mess, so stop snivelin’.”

    Peg Jed sneered at his fellow shipmate with a surprising amount of disgust. “I never wanted ta be a slaver in th’ first place,” admitted Peg Jed. “I jus’ wanted th’ adventure. ’Twas Cap’n Ironteeth who got me on th’ grog in th’ first place ta cooperate wit his plans.” Peg Jed looked downward as a genuine tear fell from his eye. “We deserve wot we get fer bein’ so cruel an-.”

    Peg Jed stopped as he heard the unmistakable footsteps of a hare coming down to the galley. The interrogation was about to begin.
    “Aha! Today I shall become an author! And I will auth and auth and auth and make a squillion dollars, whoopee!”
    -Brian Jacques

    My Story Blog

  2. #32
    Dibbun Patchouli's Avatar
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    ((Ah, I see. The only place I've ever visited in the US is Bellingham. Things are cheap, haha.

    China's a nice place, if you know where to go.))

    The small group of slaves, another otter, two squirrels, and a hedgehog cautiously made their way to the ship's kitchens. Luckily for them, the ferret cook was quite a tough and skilled beast, and was chosen to be part of Ironteeth's escort. Due to his leave from the ship, he had prepared food for all after the return journey. The group foraged around the sizeable area, grabbing a couple of spare haversacks and filling them with food. The place was actually extremely well stocked, and the group wasn't shy about helping themselves.

    "Mates, actual vittles!"

    "Aye, me ol' tummy could use some proper nourishment!"

    "We should fetch the others! There's enough fer everybeast!"

    Soon, a line formed from the kitchen to the deck, and willing paws passed sacks of fresh fruit and vegetables, rolled out barrels of water, and baked goods. The grog barrels were mostly left alone.

    Two haversacks were set aside for Patchouli and Furlough, containing a flask of water each, a few loaves of bread, and fresh fruits and nuts. The rest of the freed slaves sat outside on the deck, hungrily devouring the precious loot. Some were overwhelmed by the sudden freedom and decent food, and sobbed and wept openly.

    ----

    Back at the sick bay, Patchouli listened to Pascal's explanation, nodding as he did. "Aye, I wouldn't disagree, wot. The choice is entirely up t'Furl! I can see how much you've been affected by th'slaying, and I understand. 'Tis a tough business to go into - being a warrior, I mean." Though the hare encouraged Furlough to make his own decision, he couldn't say he wasn't sad to lose a partner. But, Patchouli had no wish to put Furlough through any more death and sorrow.

    Furlough objected instantly. Patchouli looked at the young otter, mildly surprised. Furlough was certainly bolder than many of the leverets Patchouli had once drilled - it took some time before they had gotten used to their first kill. Shifting slightly to allow Twezel to have more ease applying the salve, he patted Furlough on the arm reassuringly. Patchouli had heard of other beasts apart from badgers having bloodwrath, so he wasn't too surprised. "It's safe t'say that bloodwrath only occurs when you're fighting vile vermin, like the seascum. Y'won't have to worry much about hurting goodbeasts. Not in the history of bloodwrath has the condition ever slain gentle, honest beasts, wot!

    As fer learnin' under me..." Patchouli drew the cutlass from his belt, and struck the point into the floorboards. "There isn't a beast who's more skilled with a sabre than a Salamandastron hare! Though, of course, we'd have proper sabres, not these weapons used by corsairs and whatnot, mind you." He whacked the hilt, emphasizing his feelings towards using a vermin's blade. But given their circumstances, Patchouli couldn't be picky about weapons now. The cutlass had the closest feeling to his sabre.

    Further conversation was interrupted by a startled yelp from Twezel. The three turned to see what had caused the squirrelmaid such surprise. They were greeted with a shocked Twezel holding a thick patch of the hare's dark brown fur.

    "Oh, haha, must be winter soon, eh?" Patchouli looked sheepish. "My apologies, m'dear. It must be hard, attempting to apply medicine whilst my fur's shedding. You don't have to. Thank you, wot!"

    Twezel, not sure if throwing the fur onto the floor would be disrespectful, simply set it aside beside her. "Don't worry, sir. I'm just about finished anyways," she said cheerfully, glad and grateful of her freedom. She rubbed a bit more of her medicinal concoction onto Patchouli's already scarred back before moving onto Furlough. "I'm sorry for your back..."

    Patchouli dismissed her comment with a wave of his paw. "Don't worry 'bout it. Scars don't bother me."

    Pascal interjected, bringing out a very good point. Unable to deny what Pascal had brought up, Patchouli was about to point out the positive influence that strong-willed beasts were when Furlough made an indignant outburst. Patchouli chuckled at the young otter's and Twezel's exchange, before the news from the hedgehog caught his attention.

    Patchouli turned serious, the smile fading from his lips. "Righto then, chaps. Let's go."

    ----

    As Furlough, Patchouli and Pascal strolled down the steps, the hare had lost all trace of his previous merriment. Eyes straight and shoulders set, he walked with all the air of a high-ranking officer. When they reached the two prisoners chained to the first row, Patchouli narrowed his gaze, laying a paw on the cutlass' hilt and baring his teeth threateningly.

    "Huh, I doubt anybeast would be sad t'see ye both go!" Patchouli spat, a dangerous flicker passing from his eyes. "I should slay you two right now."

    Kerg shrunk back into the bench, whimpering. Peg Jed began blubbering instantly, "Oh, spare us, sir! We promises ta never harm nobeast again!"

    "Quiet!" Patchouli commanded. Both the prisoners lapsed into immediate silence, lest they enrage the hare any further. A slight sob escaped Peg Jed.

    "I'll consider releasin' you two if ye'll answer my questions." Knowing Peg Jed to be near useless, Patchouli nodded at Kerg. "You, stoat. Tell me exactly what Ironthingummy's after, no lies. I'll know if you're lying." Kerg opened his mouth, just as the cutlass swept across his left cheek. He felt the whoosh of the blade as his whiskers were abruptly severed. "If you dare lie, 'twon't be your whiskers the next time I swing the blade, scum!"

    ((I'll stop my post here, as I'm not sure how much you want to reveal with Kerg. You can control Patch and the other characters present if you need to. ^^))

  3. #33
    Patroller Mulchior Lancer's Avatar
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    ((Righto! Hopefully I’ve done him justice in my post. It’s a two parter.))


    A swelling of excitement filled Furlough when Patchouli agreed to mentor him during their travels in the northlands. The otter knew that he needed training if he was going to become a warrior, and the Long Patrol Colonel was the perfect beast to do so. Patchouli’s tales of his exploits with the roving hare troop were one of the few things that kept his spirits up during his miserable stay on the Bloodrine. While the lad still hadn’t fully recovered from his duel and slaying of Welts, the news did as much to rejuvenate his spirit as Twezel’s medicine did for his wounds. And though Furlough’s brief experience with bloodwrath still troubled him, he had no reason to doubt that Patchouli was telling the truth that only vermin felt the receiving end of the terrible rage.

    The lighthearted atmosphere in the sickbay changed immediately when the hedgehog guard alerted Patchouli that Kerg and Peg Jed were ready for interrogation. Twezel thankfully had just finished binding the last of the otter’s back wounds from his beating, so Furlough stood up and joined Patchouli and Pascal for the questioning.

    After the three left, Twezel began using the hot water Yarly boiled to clean her healing instruments and tidy up the area. With Patchouli gone, Twezel felt less embarrassed to dispose of the fur that accumulated when healing his back. She smiled to herself as she washed out the empty mortar.

    “That hare sure can keep a brave face,” she spoke with admiration. “Most beasts would’ve been broken after experiencing what he’s gone thr—.”

    “Twezel, come ‘ere quick!” interrupted Yarly, waving his paws wildly to get her attention. Twezel spun around and saw Yarly and Driz both standing over Cale with worried expressions on their faces. The smile faded from Twezel’s face and dropping the mortar back into the water, she rushed to their side.

    Cale was no longer tossing and turning, but instead had his eyes halfway open. His muttering much more audible now, and seemed to have some awareness to him. The mouse’s voice strained as he spoke with great effort.

    “Cale, can you hear us?” asked Twezel. “What can we do for you?”

    “Not… much time left,” groaned Cale with his eyes darting about, as if he was trying to comprehend where he was. “I can see th’ gates of Dark Forest, an’ there’s a mouse coming out to greet me.” Cale then stared forward, as if speaking to an invisible guest who had joined them in the room. “I’ve seen your face before, many long seasons ago. The tapestry, of course, how could I forget? Where is my beloved Maydine?” At this Cale’s face dropped. “Oh, I suppose I shall greet her again someday. Please fellow Warrior, let me not enter your gates without touching dry land first. It has been so very long since I felt the grass beneath my paws.”

    Cale’s voice dropped to a whisper has he continued to speak to the incorporeal being. The three woodlanders exchanged looks of pity and confusion between them.

    “Pore beast,” sighed Driz shaking his head sadly. “He’s hallucinatin’.”

    “Maybe, but Cale was from Redwall Abbey, yes?” asked Twezel, scratching her chin. “My mother and father were raised there in their dibbun days, and they told me stories of the Abbey’s founder, Martin the Warrior, who protected the Abbey even after death. Perhaps he’s come to visit Cale on his deathbed?”

    “Twezel.”

    Twezel, Yarly, and Driz immediately turned their attention to their dying friend. Though the mouse was in terrible pain, Cale had a look of peace and resignation on his face.

    “Please, get a few strong bodied beasts and have them carry me to shore,” spoke Cale in a quiet voice. “I’ve been told I can feel the ground and see Mossflower with my own eyes one last time before I depart this place.”

    “Don’t talk like that Cale, fight it!” begged Yarly, clasping the paw of his friend. Cale gave a hoarse chuckle and smiled at his friend.

    “Don’t trouble yourself mate, ‘twas not your fault I’m dying,” assured Cale. “Death comes to us all one day. All I ask of ye is that you help carry me to shore and live a happy life beyond this wretched ship.” Cale then turned to Twezel, his face taking a more serious shade. “Twezel, I have a message for you to deliver to Patchouli and Furl from a friend of mine. Promise me you’ll remember what I am about to tell you.”

    “Of course I will” agreed Twezel, trying to comfort the mouse. The squirrel healer turned to Yarly and Driz. “Quickly, find four other beasts to do as he asks, please.”

    “Aye marm!” agreed Yarly and Driz and made haste out of the sickbay to find a few volunteers. Twezel then sat in the chair next to Cale and took a deep breath.

    “My memory is as strong as a sturdy oak tree,” answered Twezel, ready to memorize Cale’s message. “What does the warrior want me to tell them?”
    “Aha! Today I shall become an author! And I will auth and auth and auth and make a squillion dollars, whoopee!”
    -Brian Jacques

    My Story Blog

  4. #34
    Patroller Mulchior Lancer's Avatar
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    Down in the Galley, Kerg trembled in his chains as he watched his severed whiskers scatter into the grimy floor of the ship. Patchouli eased the stoat’s chin up using the flat of his cutlass until Kerg’s eyes locked with his.

    “Now now, it’s proper etiquette t’look in the eyes of an officer that’s addressin’ ye,” chided Patchouli with a shake of his head. The hare stooped lower until he was face to face with his prisoner. “Now out with it.”

    “T-Th’ Cap’n’s a-after some trident called th’ W-Wavebreaker,” stuttered Kerg, stumbling over his words in his haste to answer the hare. “A season back, an ermine named V-Vendrus came to th’ cap’n. Says he knew of a beast who could f-forge weapons as good as a badger. Some fox called Moltok livin’ deep in the highlands up north. Promised th’ Cap’n he’d take him there an’ get him th’ trident ta get his revenge on yer badger.”

    “Humpf, rubbish, a trident that could break a weapon from ol’ Salamandastron?” scoffed Patchouli, proudly lifting his head as he spoke. “I’ll bally well believe it when I see it, wot.” Still, Patchouli paced back and forth, studying the facial expressions of Kerg as the pathetic stoat shook and kept his head lowered in submission to the hare. As far as the Colonel could tell, the corsair was telling the truth.

    “Wot made Cap’n Rustygums so quick t’abandon ship and follow this Vendummy?” inquired the hare in a firm yet curious tone. “A corsair cap’n doesn’t just pull his crew off his ship just for a bit o’ light pluderin’.”

    “T-Th’ ermine carried a scythe on ‘im,” answered Kerg sharply. “We ain’t seen nothin’ like it, sharp t’ th’ touch, an’ didn’t need no sharpinin’ neither. Broke any weapon we tried usin’ on it after a few whacks. I swears on me affidavit, ‘tis th’ truth!”

    Patchouli brought up his cutlass and held it straight above Kerg’s head and eyed the blade, causing the stoat to duck and cover his head with a sob. The Long Patrol hare sneered and shook his head in disgust at the condition of the nicked and scratched blade. No way would a sword in this pitiful condition ever pass inspection at Salamandastron.

    “A blinkin’ paper cut could do a number on your blades if they’re all like this one,” scolded Patchouli before turning the blade to Furlough to inspect. “See this m’lad? Lesson one of a proper warrior: take care of your weapons, an’ they’ll take care of you.”

    Furlough studied the blade, observing the dings and chips in the blade as Patchouli pointed them out with his paw.

    “Aye, definitely needs a good sharpinin’ once we get goin’,” mused Furlough as he tapped the worst dent in the cutlass.

    “’Scuse me, sir, but I wuz in charge o’ sharpinin’ th’ weapons,” objected Peg Jed, pointing to himself with twing of pride. “An’ th’ one or two times I dids it, I dids it well.”

    “And ya had th’ job fer ‘ow many seasons?” growled Kerg before being put in his place by a glare from Patchouli.

    “Well don’t that explain it all?” muttered Pascal dryly, causing Patchouli and Furlough to chuckle. Peg Jed turned a shade of red in the face before the weasel sulked back in his seat. Patchouli thrust the tip of the blade near Kerg’s footpaw and leaned on it, scratching his chin in thought as the stoat drew back his foot in fear.

    “Hmm, while any blade’s better’n wot these seascum call weapons,” reasoned Patchouli, “somethin’ doesn’t feel right about all of this. While no weapon’s better ‘n wot Lord Hortrow can forge, t’would be a shame t’ give the vermin somethin’ to rally ‘round, wot. Best to rattle the blighters an’ sabotage their little scheme.”

    Pascal crossed his arms and bristled his spikes on his back. As much as the hedgehog wanted to see Captain Ironteeth get his comeuppance, he worried for his two friends.

    “He won’t like that one bit,” warned Pascal. “If ye took it from ‘im, he’d be chasin’ ye both t’ th’ ends o’ th’ land ta get it back.”

    Patchouli nodded, he couldn’t deny that the mission was dangerous, and didn’t fancy having a hoard of corsairs hot on his trail out for revenge. Given Ironteeth’s reputation, he knew getting caught most likely meant a painful death.

    “The cap’n’s a few masts short of a sailin’ vessel, ain’t he?” piped up Furlough, smacking one paw into his other open paw. “Imagine wot losin’ his prized weapon would do to him? I don’t know heads or tails in warfare, but if we can get th’ savage in a frenzy before th’ fight with Lord Hortrow; it could be wot gives us th’ advantage.”

    “Couldn’t ‘ve said it better meself,” laughed Patchouli as he gave the otter a strong pat on the back, happy to see the lad starting to think strategy. “Ol’ Metalmouth’ll be in such a fit he’d run straight into Lord Hortrow’s blade without a second thought, wot!”

    Pascal sighed and ceded the argument to the two warriors, knowing nothing he could say would deter the two from their mission. Patchouli freed the cutlass from the floorboards and held it inches from Kerg’s face.

    “Now that we have that settled, why don’tcha be so kind as to tell us where this fox forger lives?” demanded Patchouli as he placed the tip of the blade of his cutlass a feather’s length from the stoat’s snout. A tear ran down Kerg’s face as he blubbered in his chains.

    “A-All Vendrus told us wuz he lived in a-a fortress built inta th’ side of a mountain cliff,” blurted Kerg, eyes focused on the tip of his former blade. “H-He never saids how ta get there, jus’ that he’d lead ‘em there.”

    Patchouli narrowed his eyes at the stoat as if he could bore a hole into them. The Long Patrol hare moved the blade towards Kerg’s footpaw and rested the sharp edge against the stoat’s fur. Kerg gulped as the hare tilted his head up and bore his teeth at the corsair.

    “Ye better not be holdin’ back from me scum,” threatened the Colonel. “Otherwise other beasts’ll be callin’ ye Peg Kerg, due to ya missin’ one of your legs, wot! Now on the count o’ three.” Furlough and Pascal watched in silent fascination as the hare lifted the blade and repeatedly landing it closer to his leg, widening the arc of his swing with every chop. Peg Jed covered his eyes and whimpered as the hare began to count. “One. Two. Thr-.”

    “He’s a few day’s journey from th’ ship!” shrieked Kerg at the top of his lungs, waving his arms in pleading to get the hare to stop. “Told th’ cap’n he’d need all his crew fer some reason. Didn’t say, other than blood ‘ould need ta be spilled. That’s all I knows I swear it on me mother’s life!”

    Patchouli stopped the blade just as the tip of it touched the very edge of Kerg’s fur on his footpaw. The Colonel placed the cutlass back into its sheath and patted Kerg on the head as the stoat hyperventilated and wept.

    “See, now that wasn’t so hard, was it?” asked the hare with a nonchalant wink to Furlough and Pascal. “Just goes t’show ya wot a little honesty can do for a beast.”

    Patchouli straightened his ragged tunic as if it was his old officer’s uniform and cleared his throat. “I think we’ve gotten wot we could outta these two. Come on, chaps, preparations must be made before we embark on our little jaunt to pay this Molty fox a visit.”

    Furlough moved forward and placed his footpaw hard on the spot next to Kerg and leaned his lanky body over the humiliated stoat. The otter wasn’t done yet with the prisoner.

    “One more question to th’ prisoner if ye don’t mind?” asked Furlough. Patchouli nodded and watched in curiosity as the lad came face to face with the corsair. “Th’ other beast that kidnapped me, goes by th’ name of Hydle. Never got a good look at ‘im. Describe ‘im for me.”

    Kerg groaned at the thought of having to answer more questions. He had no reason to hide the identity of his fellow shipmate, and wanted his interrogators to just leave him in peace.

    “He’s a fox, wears a black vest an’ has a patch over ‘is right eye,” answered an exhausted Kerg. “Carries a big club with ‘im. Toughest slaver we’ve ever ‘ad. Don’t think a beast like yew can take ‘im, though. He’d bash yer brains out.”

    Satisfied with the answer, Furlough stood up and rejoined Patchouli and Pascal.

    “We’ll see ‘bout that,” muttered Furlough, gripping his paws into fists as the three headed towards the stairs up to the deck. Driz was waiting for them at the door, a worried expression on his face.

    “Driz mate, wot’s troublin’ ye?” wondered Pascal as the three reached the landing. The small shrew rubbed his paws together anxiously and motioned them towards the sickbay with urgency.

    “It’s Cale, he’s fadin’ fast,” reported Driz. “He requested beasts take ‘im t’ shore so he can die on dry land. Thought it was appropriate yew three were the ones who helped take him to shore, as ye stood with ‘im in battle.”

    The three former oarslaves passed a concerned glance to each other before hurrying along with Driz to the sickbay.

    ((You can take the next scene for Cale’s passing and funeral if you would like, and feel free to use Furl as you see fit for the scene. The shore is a beach leading to the start of a grassy and rocky hill. I’ll put Martin’s message in my next post, so you don’t have to worry about that.))
    “Aha! Today I shall become an author! And I will auth and auth and auth and make a squillion dollars, whoopee!”
    -Brian Jacques

    My Story Blog

  5. #35
    Dibbun Patchouli's Avatar
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    ((You're a better hare than me, wot! I have too much trouble with the characters' speech patterns hahaha. You handle it much better.

    Also, I apologize for the late reply. I've had too much to do at school recently with club events and everything, and haven't really had the time to type out a decent reply. Sorry ))

    Patchouli drew in a sharp breath. Cale’s condition had done the opposite of what he was hoping for.

    The hare rapped out quick orders. “Furlough, Pascal, leave these two vermin here for now. We’ll deal with 'em later.”

    Turning his back on the two pitiful figures chained to the bench, Patchouli led the way out with Furlough and Pascal following anxiously behind. The gloomy trio was silent as they made their way to the sick bay where Cale was. The sudden change in the mood was obvious as they were hit with the sudden heavy atmosphere of the assembled beasts.

    Twezel was beside the still mouse, openly weeping. There was a peaceful expression on Cale’s face – he had finally gone to rest after his horrible ordeal.
    Furlough emitted a strained sob, but was holding back his grief and tears. Pascal and Patchouli remained solemn, having experienced death too many times already.

    “Poor Cale, he never deserved what he got!” Twezel cried, contrasting her earlier cheerfulness with Patchouli and Furlough.

    Yarly sniffed, voice quivering. “Aye, a good an’ honest beast like ‘im shouldn’t’ve died!” His paws were clenched tightly to his side in anger.

    "But it was also thanks to him that we're all free currently," Patchouli interjected quietly, but his voice rose as emotion overtook him. "Come on, you chaps, Cale wouldn't want t'see us all weepin' after what he did to obtain us our freedom, wot!"

    "Aye, Patchouli's right. We can't just mope 'ere all day," Furlough agreed, maintaining a brave face. "Ironteeth is gettin' farther 'n farther away."

    Twezel wiped her eyes as the tears kept coming. "Cale said he didn't want to perish in this rotten ship. His last wish was for us to bury him on the shore."

    Patchouli nodded. "Understood." Without hesitation, the strong hare picked up Cale in his arms. "If there are no objections, I'd like the honour of carryin' our brave Cale," quietly, he added, "'Twas my fault this happened..."

    Furlough was the closest to Patchouli, and overheard his remorseful comment. "Ye shouldn't blame yerself, mate. Cale wanted to help," he whispered, encouraging the mournful hare.

    Patchouli smiled sadly to Furlough. "Aye, but it always hurts as a commanding offisah. I always feel like I'm sending goodbeasts t'their deaths."

    Furlough nodded, realizing Patchouli's perspective.

    The former oarslaves all headed off the ship and onto the shore. The short rocky bank soon turned into soft, shandy shore, but Patchouli didn't stop until they were an adequate distance away from the ship. Patchouli nodded at a patch of grass underpaw. Soon, he, Furlough, and a few other beasts prepared a grave, and Patchouli lowered the body of Cale into the earthy abyss. A gentle night breeze stirred, brushing gently past the mourners.

    Patchouli recited a few lines for the passing of Cale. He didn't need to speak loudly; the assembled creatures were all silently mourning.

    "A warrior come and gone
    Here will stay and sleep.
    With the passing of every dawn
    This promise t'you I'll keep.

    T'never forget your courageous act
    As y'charged into the fray.
    With Hell Gates you have sealed your pact
    For us, your life was given away.

    But now, brave soul, may you rest
    In the solace of this grave.
    The fiery heart within this chest
    Will never forget the life you gave."

    A moment of silence followed as heads were bowed in memory of Cale.

    "Alright, everybeast. Let's have less dawdlin' here and get jolly movin'. 'Tis about time me an' Furlough set off after that Ironthingummy before the season passes, wot."

    The otter who was part of the team that gathered Furlough's and Patchouli's rations approached the pair and presented two haversacks to them. "Erm, 'twas the least we could do fer yew two. Though most of us won't be joinin' yer journey, we wish you the best o'luck!"

    Patchouli accepted the sack gratefully. "That's awfully thoughtful of you, ol' chap. Wish y'luck on your trip too, wot!"

    Furlough took the other sack, and thanked the otter as well. "Thank ye, mate. 'Tis a great help."

    Pascal was gathering the creatures who were to travel South on the shore. Patchouli waved Furlough to follow him, and the pair walked to Pascal. Pachouli had decided what he was going to do with the two captives still in the galley of the ship. He had judged that the two sullen vermin weren't threats at all anymore. "The two bally captives we have, they won't be runnin' to Irontoothy any time soon. Y'can release 'em after me an' Furlough set out, wot." Then the hare turned to Furlough, confirming his readiness to set out. "All set?" He patted the hilt of his cutlass meaningfully.

  6. #36
    Patroller Mulchior Lancer's Avatar
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    ((Oh good, I’m glad I did him justice! Fantastic work with the burial and the poem, btw. And don’t worry about keeping me hanging. I’m working on a novella at the moment, so I have ways to keep myself busy. Also, Patchouli has a decision to make midway in the story.))


    Furlough kept his head bowed in respect of the memory of Cale during the ceremony and Patchouli’s poem. While death wasn’t a new experience for him, especially during his brief time as a slave, it never got any easier. At least when a member of the Holt died, the community rallied together to celebrate the life of the one who passed on to the Dark Forest. This time, and the two times before, felt much more different. They served as reminders to the lad that death respected no beast, whether slave or free, young or old. The only comfort to be had to the otter as he helped cover Cale with fresh dirt was just how peaceful Cale looked, dying as a free beast at last.

    But now, the reality of the slaves mission set in as Patchouli roused everybeast to readiness. To Furlough and Patchouli’s surprise, some of the slaves thought ahead and prepared food for their journey. Furlough shook the paw in thanks of the helpful otter who helped organize the effort.

    “Thank ye, mate. 'Tis a great help."

    Patchouli, Furlough, and Pascal stood at the entrance to the Northlands, and Patchouli delivered his judgment of the two captives to the hedgehog. Pascal nodded in approval to the hare’s merciful decision.

    “Aye, I wuz thinkin’ th’ same thing,” agreed Pascal. “We’ll bring ‘em along fer a bit an’ set ‘em loose, far away from any of their mates on their return trip.” Patchouli nodded before turning to Furlough and patted his cutlass.

    “All set?”

    Seeing the hare hold his cutlass caused Furlough to realize he was without an adequate weapon for the trip. While he had Welts’ dagger buckled to his leather belt, the otter knew he needed something more for the trip.

    “Jus’ one moment more, I’ll be back in a jiffy!” shouted Furlough as he turned and bounded towards the ship full of hyperactive energy. “Gotta get meself a proper weapon!”


    The slaves began their final preparations for the two expeditions. Only a few slaves selected to go their own way and not journey on to Salamandastron, but would join for the first leg of the trip. As some slaves carried out more bags of food, a few shrews brought bundles of dry sticks on board.

    “Whatcha doin’ there lads?” asked Pascal confused as the shrews scampered up and down the ramp to the boat deck.

    “Once we get everythin’ we need from this ol’ dreck, we’re settin’ it aflame!” boasted one of the shrews. A chorus of cheers rang out from the rest of the shrews involved in the task.

    “Why’s that? Won’t th’ corsairs be in a fury once they find their ship’s go-,” began the otter who brought the sacks of food before a look of realization washed over his face. “Ohh, I got ye.”

    “Aye, that’ll slow th’ scum in their tracks,” added the shrew with a wink before turning to Pascal and Patchouli. “Don’t worry, we’ll make sure all beasts are off th’ boat, th’ captives included.”

    Pascal turned to Patchouli with a concerned expression on his face. Burning the ship to ashes would cripple the movement of the corsairs, but the smoke from the fire had the possibility of alerting the corsairs of their actions. It was still night, though, so the chances were less, but the old hedgehog wanted to be sure the group was in agreement.

    “Sounds well and good, but do ye think it’s a wise idea Patch?” inquired Pascal. “Do ye think th’ corsairs are far ‘nough that they won’t see it burnin’?”


    Furlough stood before the ships armory wide eyed at all the available weapons. A line of slaves had entered before him and returned armed for their trip. Yet even with the corsairs and slaves taking what they needed, there was still a good selection of weapons to choose from. In the corner were a row of spears and lances, including the one his father gave him before he departed on his adventure. Furlough held it for a moment, remembering the few brief lessons his father taught him just a season before.

    Spread out beside the spears sat a row of the remaining cutlasses on the ship. Furlough had to make a choice: would he continue in his father’s footsteps as a spear wielder, or would he learn the ways of the sword with Patchouli? Furlough thought for a moment, his old spear held firmly in his paws. This trip was an opportunity to learn the skills of a fierce Long Patrol saber expert, and he might not have another chance.

    Setting the spear down, the otter went to the cutlasses and inspected them as Patchouli taught him. He pulled one out from the middle of the group and held it close to his face. This one had a few more dings than Patchouli’s, but it was in better condition than the rest. Snatching a scabbard behind where the sword had laid, he buckled it around his shoulder and placed the blade carefully inside. He had made his decision; he would learn the ways of the blade! If Furlough ever saw his father again, he hoped he would understand.


    Furlough strode towards Patchouli, Pascal, and a newly joined Twezel who were waiting for him. Standing with them was Brackle the shrew, being attended to by Twezel with her healing salves and bandages. Brackle looked worse than when he was on the ship, but still had a brave face as the stinging salves went on his wounds.

    “Caught th’ blighter and ran him through with me sword,” reported Brackle to Patchouli. “But not before he gave me a few cuts t’ remember him by.”

    Patchouli patted him on the back and congratulated him on his quick thinking. All knew if he had failed, the whole mission could’ve gone awry. Furlough shook paws with the shrew in respect.

    “Good job mate, yer a hero to us all,” thanked Furlough. Brackle blushed at all the attention and kicked the sand.

    “Aww, ‘twas nuthin no beast in my position wouldn’t hav’ do-YOWCH!” cried Brackle, looking as if he had been pierced by an arrow. The shrew turned to Twezel and hopped up and down. “Careful where ya stick that slime on me, miss!” The others laughed as Twezel shook her head in amusement.

    “You can take a whipping with a stern face, but a little healing makes you pout like a dibbun who stubbed his toe,” chuckled Twezel. After placing a bandage on the shrew’s shoulder, Twezel handed a small pouch to Furlough. “This is a little bit of healing herbs and bandages for your trip. You might find it handy in a scrap.” Furlough did a small bow to the squirrel in thanks before handing her a dagger, the second one that belonged to Welts.

    “Thank ye miss, an’ this is fer ye,” explained Furlough. “Belonged to one of my slavers. I don’t need two, but ye might need it fer yore trek.”

    Twezel didn’t want the dagger, but thought Furlough’s reasoning made sense. Reluctantly, she stuck the dagger’s scabbard in her belt, though she hoped she wouldn’t need it. The squirrel looked down at the ground briefly before addressing the group.

    “I didn’t think it was wise for you two to go on your trip, but Cale told me something before he died, and I promised I’d tell it to you both.”

    Patchouli and Furlough looked at each other in confusion before the hare bade the squirrel to speak. Both were intrigued by the thought of one last message from their friend.

    “Wot did he say?” asked Furlough, pressing his paw on Twezel’s in assurance that it was all right. Twezel sniffed, but knew she had to keep her promise.

    “’Twas a message from the great warrior of Redwall, the one called Martin,” began Twezel, her voice wavering, knowing the trials that lay ahead for the two. As she spoke, her eyes went blank and the tone of her voice changed, switching from her normal soft voice, to one of a wise sage speaking ancient warnings. “This was what he said:

    Go forth my two champions of Mossflower,
    On a dangerous quest in its fateful hour,
    The otter burdened with the warrior’s sword,
    And the perilous hare from the badger lord,
    To stop the advance of the corsair’s vile horde.

    Together they must form a band of rogue thieves,
    And travel the lonely road of fallen leaves,
    Past the pit of hypnotic, poisonous eyes,
    And mind the tower where the striped feathered one thrives,
    Flee the ones who present themselves as allies,
    For their golden tongues are naught but twisting lies.
    Wander straight and right through the twisting thin woods,
    Into the crags, ruled by the fearsome dark hoods.

    Be wary of the hidden chains of the sly trapper,
    Or in the dungeon you’ll find yourselves after.
    Don’t lose heart in the belly of the keeper,
    For friends of the abbey you must dive deeper.
    And ally with the one who has lost her way.
    To break the surface and see light of new day.
    Together you will raid the fox’s blast forge,
    And rid our fair land of the gathering scourge.

    Though trials await those who walk in my path,
    Brave them, even under the iron one’s wrath.
    For at season’s first snowfall blood will be shed,
    Remember these warnings and all I have said.
    Though thieves you play, to goodness always stay true,
    And in this bleak trial I’ll help see you through
    .”

    The words reverberated and echoed in the hare and otter’s minds, etching the words into their brains like onto stone. The group remained silent for what seemed like eternity. Finally, the otter regained his senses and spoke softly.

    “Well at least we won’t be bored, eh?”

    ((The poem is kind of an outline for the journey ahead, but nothings necessarily set in stone per se. You can have the two start the journey in your reply if you’d like.))
    “Aha! Today I shall become an author! And I will auth and auth and auth and make a squillion dollars, whoopee!”
    -Brian Jacques

    My Story Blog

  7. #37
    Dibbun Patchouli's Avatar
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    ((Oh, nice! What kind of novella is it?))

    As everybeast assembled into their groups, ready to set out, a few freed slaves approached Patchouli and Furlough.

    "We know 'tain't much, but hopefully 'twill be useful on yer journey."

    Patchouli gratefully accepted the haversack and slung it over his shoulder. "Vittles are always useful, wot! Thanks." He turned his attention back to Pascal as Furlough dashed off in search of weapons. "Aye. Make sure they don't go anyway we're goin'. Threaten 'em if you need to."

    Drawing his cutlass, Patchouli did a fancy flourish with it. It felt pretty balanced and comfortable when he fought with it before, despite the somewhat dull edge and the many dents. "Hmm, could do with some sharpenin', wot!" he noted to himself as he followed Pascal towards the ship. Some beasts were busy gathering flammable items and dumping them on the ship.

    Though Pascal seemed to have doubts about burning the ship, Patchouli nodded his approval. "Go for it, I say. This vile thing ain't nothin' but suffering. I'd wager th'vermin are far enough to miss their ship burnin', wot. One thing though, make sure t'take everythin' we can use." Everybeast present also held their own grudges against the ship and her vermin. Patchouli thought burning the dreaded thing would lift the weight off of everyone's shoulders.

    "Aye!" One shrew did a smart salute. "We're almost done gettin' all the food. If we split it, it should last everyone fer a couple days."

    "Good. Light 'er up as soon as we leave, wot!"

    Patchouli walked away from the main group, deciding it as a good chance to sharpen his cutlass before they set out. Locating a large rock, he began to grind the weapon on the hard surface. Pascal had followed the hare and was standing awkwardly aside.

    "Patch, I'll tell ye once again. Convince young Furlough to follow us. What yer doin' is too dangerous fer the young'un."

    Patchouli didn't stop sharpening his cutlass, but there was a pause before he spoke. "The lad has fire in his eyes, Pascal. He's determined, I'll tell ya. Persuadin' him t'follow you ain't gonna work, wot. The lad knows what he wants t'do, and that's to stop the Ironthingummy from bringin' more disaster."

    Pascal sighed, brushing his head quills back. "You two just won't be convinced, eh?"

    Patchouli merely smiled. But before the conversation could continue anymore, Furlough, Twezel, and Brackle joined them. "Nice choice o'weapon y'got there, Furlough. Brackle, how was it?"

    Patchouli grinned at Brackle's report. "Jolly well done, chap!"

    As the group conversed, Patchouli finished up sharpening the cutlass. He stood up and ran a paw across the deadly blade, testing it. It certainly was way better. He thrust it back into the sash at his waist, nodding with satisfaction.

    At the mention of Cale, a fleeting guilty look swept across Patchouli's face. But his voice betrayed nothing. "What did he say?"

    Throughout Twezel's narration, there were occasional nods from Patchouli, but he stayed politely silent as the details of their journey unfolded. "Bored, we won't be," he said, winking at Furlough. "That's more action than we'd ever see at Salamandastron, wot! Huh, "feathered ones", "dark hoods", sounds like jolly bogus t'me. Thanks Twezel, we'll remember the message. T'won't be a smart move to ignore Martin, eh wot?"

    Twezel shrugged. "I'm sure everything will become clear all in due time."

    "Wise words, m'gel!" Grabbing the haversack, Patchouli shouldered it. "Now, it's about time me 'n Furlough set out, afore we completely lose th'vermin. Good luck to you all. Stay safe!"

    Brackle, Pascal, and Twezel bid the pair goodbye. But a few passing beasts noticed Patchouli and Furlough's departure, and soon, there were shouts of goodbyes as everybeast caught on.

    Patchouli let out a final wave before starting his journey with Furlough. "Good luck t'everybeast! Oh, and Pascal, for those who don't have homes t'return to, I'm sure Redwall would be willin' t'take everybeast, wot!"

    Pascal waved back, signalling he had heard. "Aye! Thanks fer everythin'! And good luck!"

    "We'll definitely succeed!" Patchouli called.


    A while later, the pair was trekking north, inland and away from the sea. Though being in the belly of a galley for so long left Patchouli a bit disoriented at the sudden openness of land, he guessed they were still in Mossflower country due to the familiar foliage.

    But Northern Mossflower was still foreign to him. "How are you holdin' up? Let's grab some rest afore dawn, wot. It'll be easier, travelin' in light." Patchouli scouted the area, choosing the base of a huge oak as a temporary camp.

    "No fires though, we don't want any unwanted attention. Now get a bit o'food and some shuteye." Digging into his sack, he dined on a piece of hard bread, eating sparingly.

    As Patchouli finished his portion, his keen ears caught movement. There was a constant rustle of a bush near them, eliminating the probability of wind causing the sound. He caught Furlough's eye, and brought a finger to his lips. He drew his cutlass and gestured towards the buh. The pair crept silently to the bush, hoping to catch whomever was there in an ambush.

    ((Friend or foe? :P))

  8. #38
    Patroller Mulchior Lancer's Avatar
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    ((It’s a series of sci-fi novellas written by some of my writing friends. It’s an alternate world with magic used as science. We each take turns writing novellas for the two ongoing stories. The one I’m working on is the first one I’ve written, and the largest writing project I’ve done outside of school. ))


    The time had come for Furlough and Patchouli to say goodbye to their fellow slaves of the Bloodrine, a task that proved more difficult for the otter than he envisioned while daydreaming of escape the past two weeks. Though none aside from Brackle and his shrews had known each other before finding their way deep beneath the deck of the slave ship, the group had bonded over their plight and rallied together under difficult circumstances.

    Paws shook and hugs clasped between these beasts bonded through backbreaking labor and imprisonment. They were more than just friends now, but comrades who had overcome their suffering. Words of encouragement and promises of victory passed between their lips as Furlough and Patchouli heaved up their haversacks upon their backs and began the first steps in their long journey. As Furlough gave one last wave to Pascal, Brackle, and Twezel, the otter wiped his eye and wondered if he would ever see them again. The two disappeared over a small hill and into the vastness of Northern Mossflower.

    Unlike the beaches of Southern Mossflower, where Salamandastron stood surrounded by large sand dunes as far as the eye could see, Northern Mossflower’s beaches were shorter, with jagged rocks jutting from the sand like ragged teeth. Though the night sky was clear enough for travelling, the pair’s vision remained limited to what stood before them. Though the country was new to the otter, the unfamiliar landscape made his fur stand on end with electric excitement. Tall grass swayed with the bellowing gusts of wind blowing off of the ocean and onto the coastlands. The air had a slight chill to it, a reminder that summer was at its end. The wind rippled through the lashes cut into the back of the otter’s shirt from the savage beating he received from Wharll Whiptail. The lad shuttered, both from the memory and the nipping cold, but kept marching along with Patchouli. He kept pace with the Long Patrol hare, and the two kept a low conversation, trying to figure out where they were exactly in Mossflower based on the foliage. They at least knew they were headed north, as both could identify the North Star in the sky like a friendly beacon guiding them in an unfamiliar land.

    The sandy path soon turned to a dirt path, and the two stood at the top of a larger hill. The short walk from the coast had done wonders for both Furlough and especially Patchouli, having been cramped up in a sitting position for so long. Gone was the ocean from view, though from the small stream of dark smoke mixing in the night air, the two travellers knew the Bloodrine was meeting a fiery demise. The hare and otter snickered and celebrated as quietly as they could. No longer would that rotting scrap of bilge wood snatch another unsuspecting beast from their home.

    "How are you holdin' up? Let's grab some rest afore dawn, wot. It'll be easier, travelin' in light,” suggested Patchouli. Furlough could’ve kept going, but thought it might be wise to rest up for when traveling was optimal.

    “Might be good to stretch out an’ nab a bit o’ vittles,” agreed Furlough. Patchouli slipped away for a few minutes before directing Furlough to a sizable oak tree, the largest within eyeshot.

    "No fires though, we don't want any unwanted attention. Now get a bit o'food and some shuteye,” said the hare.

    The two sat with their backs to the massive trunk of the oak tree, blocking the wind from them as they ate. Furlough tucked into his bit of crusty bread, thankful to get something into his stomach besides the usual slop from the ship’s cook. He savored every bite, chewing slowly and enjoying the bread, even if it was stale. Feeling his heavy eyelids droop a bit, the otter figured he’d rest well tonight.

    “Sure is good t’ get some real sustenance fer once, ain’t it?” asked Furlough with a half smile, but paused as he noticed his friend looking about the landscape. The otter observed that Patchouli never let his guard down, even at rest, a trait he’d have to learn.

    The hare’s ears shifted, stopping in the direction of a bush to their west. Patchouli held a finger to his lips and rose, drawing his cutlass and bidding Furlough to do the same. Wordlessly, Furlough drew his weapon and each pulled up their haversack and tiptoed behind the bush closest to them. The knelt low and waited to find out just what the source of the noise came from, and they wouldn’t have to wait long.

    Out of the bush tramped a rat, a nasty looking thug with his gut hanging out from under his dirty shirt, and a frustrated look painted on his face. The rat had a short sword strapped to his belt, but it remained undrawn. He didn’t need it, as he caught his prey. In his hands he held a struggling hedgehog maid, wearing a plain blue dress, head cover, and torn and dirt splotched apron. The hedgehog struggled as the rat kept a paw clasped firmly over the maiden’s mouth. The rat breathed gasped for breath, and the pair guessed the rat had just moments before caught the maid.

    “Yew stupid hedgepig, thought yew an’ yer brother could jus’ slip away wit out us knowin’?” hissed the rat. The rat shook the hedgehog as his temper got the best of him. “These woods ‘ave been crawlin’ wit hordes o’ beasts th’ past few days. Wot woulda happened if one o’ ‘em saw ya an’ thought ta look around, eh? Why yew’d ‘ave more ‘n us t’ worry ‘bout slayin’ yer family, eh?”

    The hedgehog maiden couldn’t reply with words, but her glare at her captor said all she needed to say. The rat leveled his head next to the hedgehog and spoke again.

    “Now now, none o’ that, miz,” spat the rat. “That is unless ya want me ta take yer pore ol’ poppa outta th’ cellar and spit him on one o’ his own spikes, eh?”

    The hedgehog went quiet, her shoulders slumped in defeat at the mention of her family. The fat rat sneered as he knew he had the upper paw.

    “That’s better now,” approved the rat, before he gave the maid a wink. “’Course I can’t says Harg won’t run yer poppa through ‘imself if yer brother gives ‘im trouble.”

    Tears flooded the hedgehog maid’s eyes as she stood helpless, trapped by her rat captor. Furlough trembled with anger at the hedgehog’s mistreatment by the rat, and wanting to do anything he could to help her. The otter tilted his head towards Patchouli to get a read at what the hare was thinking. The hare was as still as a statue, but based on the look on Patchouli’s face, the otter knew the rat was not long for this world. The otter waited for silent directions from the hare as to rescue the maid from her plight, ready to follow his orders in this rescue mission.

    ((Decided to go for both. Feel free to use Furlough as needed in your update. I’ve laid the groundwork a bit for the mission ahead, so this should give you some fun stuff to work with. In a few days I’ll do a quick update on what Ironteeth is up to, as well as the departure for the other group for story purposes, but nothing that would immediately impact Patchouli and Furlough.))
    “Aha! Today I shall become an author! And I will auth and auth and auth and make a squillion dollars, whoopee!”
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  9. #39
    Patroller Mulchior Lancer's Avatar
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    ((Meanwhile...))

    Kerg and Peg Jed sat stewing in their seats, awaiting word to their fate. Their heavy chains rattled where they sat, most certain that at any moment, the hare they so feared would return and give them their just desserts. The door from the upper deck swung open and slammed against the wall, and the two jumped, a strained sob escaping Peg Jed’s throat. From out of the shadows emerged the spiny footpaws of Pascal, followed by the soft padding of Brackle. Both beasts scowled fiercely at the two prisoners. The two once fierce pirates could only lower their heads and shut their eyes tight, their nerves frazzled from their experience during the night. The two shrew guards saluted the two before Pascal spoke.

    “Release them from their seats,” ordered Pascal, much to the surprise of the two corsairs. The two shrews shared a look of disappointment before unlocking the chains of the two prisoners from the lock on the floor, yet the chains still remained on their paws. The two stood up unwarily, expecting for the other shoe to drop at any moment for their execution.

    “W-wot ar’ ye gonna do wit us?” stammered Peg Jed. “Yer not gonna make us walk th’ plank ar’ ye?”

    “Stow it one leg,” snarled Kerg, raising a paw to smack Peg Jed, only for his paw to jerk back due to his chains. Kerg whined through gritted fangs. “Don’t give ‘em any iders.”

    “Well that’s a plan, ain’t it Pascal?” joked Brackle with a grim smile. “Would serve ‘em right to make ‘em fish food.” The large, yet thin hedgehog shook his head and clicked his tongue in disapproval.

    “Hmph, if the stench didn’t scare ‘em away first,” judged Pascal. “No, we’re gonna let you two go, even if ya don’t deserve it.”

    A look of relief washed over the faces of the two vermin at the news that they were being spared.

    “Thank ye, o’ mighty hedgepig,” thanked Peg Jed with a bow. Kerg said nothing, fearing he might say something to change the minds of the woodlanders. He was glad he did, as Pascal loomed before them, placing a firm paw on each of their shoulders and gripping them hard.

    “But listen well, just because we spared ye don’t mean I like ya,” spoke Pascal in a deep, threatening voice. “Ye stole many seasons of m’ life, and if I find out ye’ve returned to yer old ways, I’ll hunt ye both down meself, an ye’ll find that these spikes are more than fer show. Understood?”

    The two gulped and nodded vigorously. “A-Aye aye, sir!”

    Pascal let go of his death grip on the two and stepped back. The hedgehog turned to his shrew companion and nodded.

    “Brackle, have the guards give these two a good bath before we set ‘em loose,” ordered Pascal without the hint of a smile.

    “Bath?” shouted the two corsairs in unison, their eyes bulging out in horror. Brackle and the two shrew guards smirked as they began to prod the two to the upper deck.

    “Oh aye captain,” agreed Brackle with a grin while rubbing his paws together. “I’ll give ‘em a good scrubbin’, even behind their filthy ears.”

    The two pirated moaned and pleaded for mercy as they were dragged upstairs to their waiting bath in the ocean. Pascal stood alone in the galley, collecting his thoughts. He had been the longest surviving slave in the galley, having been brought there as a young and sturdy hedgehog. In truth, he lost count of how many seasons he had been stuck there, seeing all who came before him and many after perish under terrible conditions. He had seen far too many good beasts die before their time, all for the whims of a terrible pirate.

    For the first time he could remember, he was free, able to do and go as he pleased. It was almost too much to bear on his weary shoulders, all of these former slaves looking to him for leadership. While he was a peaceful creature, his time with Patchouli showed him that if he was to see all the slaves make it alive to Salamandastron, he’d have to use the sword to do so. The hedgehog returned to his old seat and slumped down with a tired sigh, and for the first time in many a season Pascal allowed himself to weep, overwhelmed by the great task placed upon his shoulders. But at last, he could decide where he could go, and what he could do.


    Pascal stepped to shore, having composed himself while still down in the galley. The ragged but ready freebeasts stood waiting for him at the shore, about nineteen of them. Behind them sulked the now wet and clean Kerg and Peg Jed, both drying themselves by the fire. Twezel stood with her shrew assistants Driz and Kaleb, each holding their medicinal and herbal equipment. Brackle, Pascal’s first in command, stood with Yarly and Gunthum, the otter who gathered supplies for Patchouli and Furlough, as the leaders for any skirmishes they’d come across. Brackle would lead the beasts assigned to close combat, while Gunthum had a small crew of slingers and archers ready to provide cover. Yarly offered himself as scout for the group, as he had prior experience doing such before he became a galley slave.

    The hedgehog picked up Furlough’s old spear, the last of the weapons saved from the ship, and thudded it into the sand.

    “Right, now it’s up t’ us to make it to th’ fire mountain an’ warn the Badger Lord of Ol’ Ironteeth’s plans,” announced Pascal in a loud voice. “We should keep close to shore while still within the edge of Mossflower for cover an’ scavengin’. We escaped slavery together, so a liddle walk should give us no trouble. Still, we stay together, got it?”

    “Aye!” rang out the cry of the freebeasts in agreement, raising their weapons.

    “Now fer one more bit o’ business,” added Pascal, looking towards the corsairs.

    Pascal and Brackle walked through the crowd towards Peg Jed and Kerg. Pascal handed Brackle Peg Jed’s set of keys and pointed at a tree standing by the shoreline. While he was no squirrel, Brackle shimmied up the tree like one and placed the key ring on a branch just out of reach of the two corsairs.

    “Once we’re out of sight, yer free ta unchain yerselves an’ go free,” explained Pascal.

    “How’d ya expect us ta do that?” whined Kerg, pointing at the keys. Pascal shrugged his spiny shoulders before turning away from them.

    “Guess yer gonna hav’ ta figure that out on yer own,” mused the hedgehog, before pointing to Gunthum and two assistants, each holding bows and arrows. “Gunthum, set th’ Bloodrine ablaze!”

    “Aye, cap’n, reddy lads?” shouted Gunthum after saluting the hedgehog before the three dipped their arrows into the fire, setting the rag tipped arrows ablaze. Aiming high, the three shot off their first set of arrows into the ship. Two of the arrows hit the barrels of oil placed on the deck, and watched the ship slowly erupt in flames. The free beasts cheered and shouted “Onward to Salamandastron!” as the sound of the burning ship grew louder and louder.

    As much as they wanted to watch the ship burn to cinders, they knew they needed to hit the path hard and gain as much distance between them and the ship. Yarly led the free beasts onward, urging the newly christened “Free Galley Gang” southward. Pascal and Brackle remained until all beasts were accounted for, and then followed at the rear. As they did, Brackle turned to Pascal and whispered quietly.

    “Hey mate, I can’t see that rascal Worble anywhere, do ye?”

    Pascal squinted at the group before nodding in agreement. “Nay, he ain’t t’ be seen with our crew. Truthfully, I haven’t seen that one since we captured th’ boat. Guess that one decided t’ go on his own. I ain’t surprised, that one was always a rogue.”

    “Good riddance, iffin ya ask me,” snorted Brackle, as the two marched along. “Let’s jus’ hope he stays outta trouble.”

    As the Free Galley Gang marched out of sight from the beach, Kerg began jumping for the key ring.

    “Come on, lazy bones an’ help me git that key,” growled Kerg. Peg Jed lifted his right leg and patted his peg footpaw.

    “Wit this ol’ leg?” snarled Peg Jed. “Are ye daft?”

    The two corsairs argued and began fighting, rolling around on the sand and attacking each other while throwing out insults.

    “Addle brain!”

    “Snot nose!”

    “Frog breath!”

    “Rotten paw!”


    Deep into the woods of the northern lands, Captain Ironteeth’s crew had settled for the night. A few beasts made rounds around the camp and kept watch as the Captain and his crew slept by campfire, the remains of their roasted pigeons burning in the fire. All of the corsairs slept well after a long night’s march, all but Captain Ironteeth. The pine marten tossed and turned where he slept. Captain Ironteeth’s dreams plagued him so that some of his inner circle woke up from his mutterings and thrashing.

    “Wot’s wrong wit th’ cap’n?” asked First Mate Braccul, rubbing the sleep from his eyes. Scarla the Vixen glared at the stoat with her one open eye from where she was resting and hushed him.

    “Quiet fool,” hissed Scarla. “Do ye want to be the one to wake th’ Cap’n an’ make us all suffer? I will take care of him, so shut yer flapper an’ get some shut eye!”

    Braccul lowered his ears before submitting to Scarla’s advice. She was right, of course, No way did he want to get on the unpredictable Captain’s bad side. Braccul stuffed some moss into his ears as the Captain cried out again. Ironteeth’s dreams of victory were interrupted by three shadowy figures that plagued his sleep. The outlines of what looked like a hare and an otter were hot on his trail, seeking his blood. As threatening as they were, what made the captain run in terror was the form of a huge badger striding after him, each footstep causing the earth to shake. Captain Ironteeth wanted to wake up, but couldn’t, trapped in his dream as he ran for his life!
    “Aha! Today I shall become an author! And I will auth and auth and auth and make a squillion dollars, whoopee!”
    -Brian Jacques

    My Story Blog

  10. #40
    Dibbun Patchouli's Avatar
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    Patchouli crouched, unmoving and silent as he listened to the exchange between the rat and the hedgehog. His grip tightened around the cutlass as he restrained himself from immediately charging the rat. It sounded like the rat could yield some very useful information, and the hedgehog didn't seem like the only one he and Furlough had to rescue.

    Nudging Furlough, who was right beside him, Patchouli signaled the young otter to move farther away as he shifted back himself. If the rat kept walking, he would trod right in the space between Furlough and Patchouli. It would be a complete surprise attack.

    A dangerous expression showed on Patchouli's face as he poised to spring.

    Furlough, however, trampled over a few twigs as he moved back. He stopped immediately, but the rat had already heard.

    "What was that?" The rat glanced around nervously. Was it somebeast of the horde he had seen passing by? Out of the corner of his mouth, he hissed to the hedgehog in his grasp. "Now you shut up, ya hear?" The hedgehog shouldn't be stupid enough to cry for help - she should know it might be another enemy. The rat felt the hedgehog nod. The paw that had been covering the hedgehog's mouth strayed to the sword.

    Unfortunately for the rat, and the pair waiting to ambush the rat, the hedgehog maid decided to take a chance. Now that her mouth was free, she bit savagely into the rat's paw that was holding her. The rat screamed, dropping the maid instinctively. She shot away like a bullet, opposite of the direction where Patchouli and Furlough were waiting. "You brat! I'll skin ya fer this!" Forgetting all caution, the rat turned away to chase the hedgehog.

    Patchouli cursed under his breath. Breaking cover, he called to Furlough: "Go for the hedgehog! She's bound t'run into more trouble, dashin' off willy-nilly!"

    "Got it!" Bounding up, Furlough ran after the hedgehog, with Patchouli following close behind.

    The startled rat looked at the otter that had bound past him in surprise. Reacting quickly, he growled and lunged, attempting to grab the dashing otter. Patchouli was close behind, and he stuck out his cutlass between the rat and otter. The rat found himself clasping the sharpened edge of the weapon. Yowling, he turned to see the wrathful look of the Long Patrol hare. Losing all confidence, the rat stopped abruptly, throwing his bleeding paws in the air in surrender.

    "Please, don't kill me! I was jus' having some fun wit' the hedgepig - I didn't mean to harm her or anythin', I swears it!"

    "Oh really now?" Patchouli whipped up the cutlass to the rat's throat. "Bad form, doncha know, blubberin' like that! Salute your senior offisah, and state your name, sah!"

    "Th-the name's S-Stoutnose, s-s-sir!" Stoutnose managed to stammer out.

    "And, what were you doin' with the maid, wot?"

    Stoutnose gulped, not answering. The cutlass flashed, neatly trimming the rat's beard.

    "We were bringing her to our b-b-boss!" Stoutnose backed away from the hare, only to stumble into a tree. Any thoughts of escape Stoutnose had deflated.

    "Oh? You better tell me all about it!"

    ----

    "Wait, please wait!" Furlough called after the hedgehog. She was surprisingly fast, running with pure desperation. Furlough couldn't exactly grab her up from behind, due to her sharp spikes.

    Thankfully, the wild chase ended as she tripped over a root. Grabbing the nearest object to her - a twig - she whirled around, waving it menacingly. "Don't come near me, you villain!"

    Furlough frowned, "I ain't a villain..." Realizing he was still holding the cutlass, he hastily sheathed it and held up his empty paws. "See? I'm trying to help! Now, wot's yer name? I'm Furlough."

    "M-Marla," she said, still eying Furlough suspiciously.

    "Marla, eh?" Furlough grinned disarmingly at her. "Don't worry, me an' my pal Patch'll git ye family free. We overheard yore conversation with the rat. We ain't vermin - promise!" Marla was still not trusting, but seeing as how she had no other chance to save her family, she decided to follow Furlough back.

    ----

    Stoutnose was bound firmly with some vines Patchouli had gathered. The hare acknowledged Furlough and Marla with a nod as they emerged from the surrounding foliage.

    "Hi there. I'm sure Furlough's already said somethin' about me. What's your name?"

    "Marla, sir." The shy hedgehog fidgeted with her dirty dress.

    "Marla, eh? Pleased t'meet you. I'm Patchouli," Patchouli said with a warm smile. "Feel free t'help yourself with some vittles." He gestured to his haversack of provisions. He had retrieved them after dealing with the rat. "Oh, and Furlough, y'might want t'hear what this rat has t'say, wot." Dealing the sobbing rat a disdainful kick, Patchouli motioned Stoutnose to start talking.

    ((I feel like it's getting a bit long, so I'll stop here. :P))

  11. #41
    Patroller Mulchior Lancer's Avatar
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    Furlough trudged loudly through the loam and dead leaves slightly ahead of Marla, following their trail back to where he left Patchouli. While the otter hadn’t developed his tracking skills yet, Marla’s mad dash left enough signs for a blind beast to follow her. While he kept a close eye on the skittish hedgehog, he took the lead to make her feel more at east that he wouldn’t turn on her.

    “Don’t ye worry one bit miss,” promised Furlough with a wink as he made a silly march forward, kicking his legs out as he went. “Me’n Patchy’ll take good care of ye an’ get ya home. Jus’ ye see.”

    Marla followed behind the otter with the strange walk obediently, but also out of amusement. Furlough spied an occasional smirk from the hedgehog from his actions. Marla reminded him of his younger sister Dellua, and he knew how to clown around to make her feel at ease during tense moments.

    “Do you always walk like that?” asked Marla just above the tone of a whisper. The otter spun around and hopped between each footpaw in place, occasionally shaking his foot ahead of him.

    “Oh aye, all of us Scalloways are natural born hoppers,” explained Furlough in a matter-of-fact tone. The otter placed a fist over his heart and closed his eyes as he continued his fib. “Why, me ol’ granpap wus called Jumpin’ Jehu. Even entered a hoppin’ contest against a bunch of hares. Woulda won, too, if he hadn’t been disqualified.”

    “Oh?” inquired Marla, absorbed in the otter’s wild story. “Why wus he disqualified?” The otter frowned and let out a sad sigh.

    “The judges said his ears weren’t long ‘nough to be a true jumpin’ hare,” answered Furlough, placing his paws above his ears in imitation of the ears of a hare and wiggled them. “Pulled his ears stretchin’ ‘em till they sagged to prove ‘em wrong.” At that, the otter made his paws fold downward.

    Marla giggled a bit as the two resumed their walk back. Furlough smiled, glad that he succeeded in easing the hedgehog’s mind.


    The two soon made their way to Patchouli standing guard over the subdued and thoroughly bound Stoutnose. Marla took a step back in fear of her former captor as well as the intimidating hare, but Patchouli expertly put the young hedgehog maid at ease with a friendly introduction and offering her food. Vittles, now that was something the poor hedgehog lacked for the past few days.

    “Y-ya mean it?” she asked, unsure if she should accept the offer. Furlough opened the haversack towards her direction, and Marla pull a stale oatcake out and began munching away. It might not have been the freshest food, but sustenance was sustenance, and she devoured it quickly. Furlough tossed her his canteen and she took a long, refreshing draught of the water.

    "Oh, and Furlough, y'might want t'hear what this rat has t'say, wot," said Patchouli, dealing the sobbing rat a disdainful kick. Furlough placed a paw on the hilt of his cutlass and grimaced at the captured rat.

    “Is that so, eh?” muttered Furlough in a threatening tone. “Start yappin’ rat.” Giving the sobbing rat a disdainful kick, Patchouli motioned Stoutnose to start talking.

    “It weren’t my ider,” began Stoutnose, fidgeting against the vines that stuck him fast to the tree. “We wus livin’ south o’ these lands, but we ‘eards there wus treasure up North. Great weapons like none other. Th’ boss, Grimtongue’s ‘is name, he wanted it, so we’s goes an head north t’ strike it rich an’ make a name fer ourselves. Well, we made it up ‘ere when we saws a great multitude o’ beasts headed in our direction. Frightenin’ beasts all painted up wi’ markin’s. They musta heard th’ story, too.”

    Furlough shot a glance at Patchouli. “Doesn’t sound like th’ Cap’n or his crew, does it?”

    “Agreed ol’ chap,” agreed Patchouli, before turning back to Stoutnose. “Go on.”

    “Well, we knew we wus outnumbered, an’ we didn’t wanna be found by ‘em or we’d be dead beasts fer sure,” continued Stoutnose, his voice growing less shaky as he spoke. “So we ducked inta th’ first place we could hide, inta a tree wit a door on it. Turns out a family o’ hedgepigs wus livin’ there already, an’ they made a great fuss of it. We had ta quiet ‘em, or we’d all be caught. But th’ father, he didn’t listen t’ reason, so we stowed ‘im in ‘is cellar fer safekeepin’. We had ta! Yew ken ask th’ maid, they’re all still alive. Promised we’d take care of ‘em if they fed us, we did.”

    “No, we’re talkin’ to ye,” reminded Furlough, stepping in front of Marla from the rat’s line of sight and pointing at him. Marla kept her position behind Furlough as Patchouli stepped closer to the hedgehog maid to make her feel safer. The rat gulped, as Furlough stood straighter and patted his hilt again.

    “T-they’re fine, swear on me life,” swore Stoutnose, his speech picking up speed. “An’ we kept our promise, even when other bands came through. I ‘ad to chase her, lest she get ‘erself captured an’ git us all killed.”

    Marla had kept silent through the entire exchange, but hearing the rat’s story made her shake with rage until she could contain herself no longer. She moved next to Patchouli and pointed a finger at the rat.

    “Kept us safe, is that what ya call it?” rebutted Marla, raising her voice. “They beat my father an’ threw him in our cellar, only givin’ him water to keep him alive. They told us if we didn’t feed an’ serve ‘em, that they’d kill him! They’ve worked my mother and granmom to the bone slaving after them. If my brother an’ I didn’t make a run for it, we’d still be baking ‘em pies an’ cleaning up after ‘em.”

    Stoutnose shot Marla a murderous glance, grinding his fangs as she recounted the treatment Grimtongue’s gang had treated them. “Yew liddle ingra-,” spat Stoutnose, but before he could finish Furlough was on him, with his cutlass drawn at the rat’s neck.

    “I wouldn’t talk to her like that if I were ye,” warned Furlough, speaking directly in the rat’s ear. “I don’t like slavers, so ye’d best behave yerself, understood?” The rat nodded submissively, seething inside at the bold otter. Marla had hidden herself behind Patchouli, but the kind hare quickly calmed her nerves.

    “Now now lass, that ol’ rat’s bally tied up well and good,” assured Patchouli as he patted her head with his paw. “He’s not goin’ anywhere, ya can be sure of that.” Marla composed herself and nodded at the hare.

    “Thank you, if you hadn’t come along, he would’ve taken me back home to the rest of his gang,” thanked Marla.

    “First thing’s first, we’ve gotta save yore family from this scum’s liddle gang,” stated Furlough, pointing at Stoutnose. “Do ye think ye can lead us back to yer home?”

    “Oh yes, I can find my way back,” agreed Marla with a nod. Patchouli grabbed a length of vine and fastened Stoutnose’s muzzle shut.

    “Well ol’ chap, I suppose you’re not needed anymore, so why don’tcha get comfortable and take a nice nap,” mused Patchouli before giving the rat a swift rap to the back of his head, knocking him senseless. Stoutnose’s head sunk to his chest as he hung limp against the tree. Patchouli smacked his paws together, cleaning them off before he and Furlough joined back with Marla. “Now then lass, why don’t you tell us a bit about the situation so we can get to strategizing?”

    ((Part One for length...))
    “Aha! Today I shall become an author! And I will auth and auth and auth and make a squillion dollars, whoopee!”
    -Brian Jacques

    My Story Blog

  12. #42
    Patroller Mulchior Lancer's Avatar
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    “Where could Stoutnose and Herg be?” asked Mireye, an older rat, as he trimmed his wispy beard with his crooked dagger. “’Ow ‘ard is it ta catch two stupid hedgepigs?”

    “Don’t matter ‘ow long it takes ‘em as long as they do it,” commented Grimtongue flatly. “’Sides, leaves more of the vittles fer us.”

    Grimtongue and Mireye sat at the Barbzwood family table, both with their filthy feet reclining right on the table. Two female hedgehogs, one middle aged, and one elderly hog dotted the two rats as they feasted on the plentiful food placed before them. Leyah, the younger of the two hedgehogs walked around the table holding a freshly baked pie. Grimtongue, a one eyed brown rat, dug his paw into the boysenberry pie and scooped a heaping serving onto his plate. He took another pawful from the pie and stuffed it into his mouth, staining his beard black in the process. Leyah cringed at the mess, but forced a smile in front of her captors.

    “Made just the way you like it,” said Leyah in faux sweetness. Grimtongue patted his protruding belly and let out a disgusting belch.

    “That ya did, and ya better keep at it,” laughed Grimtongue before thumbing his paw at the cellar door, with a chair kept against the handle to keep it locked. “That is if ya care about yer mate.”

    “Please,” rasped a voice from behind the cellar door. Edgar Barbzwood lay against the crack at the bottom of the door, starving and exhausted from worry. “Please let my family be. Yer eatin’ us outta house an’ home.”

    BANG!

    Grimtongue smashed his tin cup against the cellar door to shut up the hedgehog.

    “Quiet in there or no water today,” snapped Grimtongue, before scooping another mouthful of pie into his mouth. Crumbs flicked from his mouth as he spoke to Abresia, the elderly hedgehog. “Look it that, I’m fresh outta wine. Fill ‘er up.”

    “Yes sir,” whimpered Abresia, dutifully picking the cup up and pouring the rat more wine. She set it next to his plate before filling Mireye’s cup as well.

    “I’m tellin’ ya Grim, we shoulda done this ages ago,” said Mireye, letting his beard hairs fall around his chair. Leyah swept them up with her broom and into the pile of foul garbage left by their rat captors.

    Gritnail, a black rat with patches of fur missing around his body, came down the stairs leading from the front door and saluted Grimtongue with his spear.

    “Still no sign o’ th’ others, sir,” reported Gritnail. “Can I git my dinner now? I’ve been on guard since sundown.” Gritnail’s stomach growled at the sight of the half eaten plates of food in front of him. Grimtongue drew his sword and pointed it at his subordinate.

    “Yew git out there till I tells ya yew can come in,” growled Grimtongue, shooing the guard away. Gritnail drooped his head and sulked back to his post, the scent of the food mocking him as he went. Grimtongue and Mireye laughed and clinked their drinks together. This was truly the good life.


    Under the cover of darkness Patchouli, Furlough, and Marla crept towards the clearing where the Barbzwood’s tree stood. From their vantage point, they spied Gritnail leaning against his spear, keeping his watch. The three knelt down against the log of a fallen oak and prepared themselves. Patchouli dropped the haversack against the log as he and Furlough drew their cutlasses, readying for their rescue mission.

    “There’s my home,” explained Marla, pointing at the tree. “That’s one of ‘em there. I don’t see my brother or the rat that went after him. I hope he’s alright.”

    Furlough placed a reassuring paw on her shoulder and winked at her.

    “Don’t you worry, we’ll settle this,” comforted Furlough. “You stay ducked behind this log and outta sight. Me an’ Patchouli’ll take care of this.”

    Marla nodded and sat down, keeping the haversack close to protect it. Patchouli kept his focus on the guard, as well as the surrounding area, deep in thought. Furlough inched closer to the hare and joined in the strategizing.

    “What’s th’ plan, matey?” asked Furlough, gripping the hilt of his cutlass tight. Whatever laid ahead for them, they’d be ready to what it took to save the Barbzwood family.

    ((All set for another battle. Again, feel free to use Furlough as you see fit.))
    “Aha! Today I shall become an author! And I will auth and auth and auth and make a squillion dollars, whoopee!”
    -Brian Jacques

    My Story Blog

  13. #43
    Dibbun Patchouli's Avatar
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    Patchouli was silent, pondering Furlough's question while his gaze swept over the area. The entrance of the hedgehog family's dwelling was at the base of a massive oak. Various plants were littered nearby, trampled into the ground; these were probably used as camouflage to hide their home.

    "We can't straight up charge in there, that's fer sure," Patchouli gritted his teeth. The vermin band had live hostages. "How many of 'em are there, Marla?"

    "Umm... Three including the guard, I think. Two are inside. I don't see the one with my brother."

    "How 'bout we lure 'em out?" Furlough suggested. "Prevent 'em from usin' hostages."

    "That's a good idea and all, but how'll we do that, wot?" Patchouli said, thinking. Seeing no other way, he continued: "Alright, I'll charge th'one at the entrance. If he raises a loud enough ruckus, mayhap the others'll hear him and come out. Back me up when they do, Furlough. Marla, prepare lots of vines."

    Furlough nodded, raising his cutlass. Unsheathing his own, Patchouli swished it. "Here I go, wot!"

    ----

    Gritnail spat disdainfully, muttering darkly under his breath. He shivered as a sudden chill swept across. "Huh, wot gives Mireye and Grimtongue the right to be inside all warm an' cozy? With vittles too, while poor ol' Gritnail's out 'ere eatin' dirt and worms. Bah!"

    The two had immediately established themselves as the leaders of their tiny vermin band after they had raided the hedgehogs' home. After much bickering, things had turned ugly and Gritnail had lost in the fight to leadership. He rubbed his rib, where a scar was forming under his dirty jerkin. Thoughts of mutiny and revolt floated through his head as he shook his spear angrily. "Stuck on guard duty, 'ere I am! T'ain't fair!"

    Catching a swift movement in the bushes to his left, Gritnail came immediately to alert. "Who's there? Show yerself!" He commanded, waving the spear threateningly. He caught sight of two long ears coming towards him. "A rabbit? Huh, I'm in luck. I'll git my own slave, yah, that's what I'll do." The stupid creature was approaching him. Gritnail gripped his spear, ready.

    A mottled white and brown figure bowled straight into Gritnail, knocking the wind out of him. "Eulaliaaaa!"

    Gritnail dropped his spear upon impact. Regaining his breath, he shouted desperately, "Attack! We're under attack!" Now weaponless, he fought desperately tooth and claw in a losing battle.

    Grimtongue and Mireye had heard Gritnail's call. "Huh, ain't sound like much of a fight at all, eh mate?" Mireye smirked to Grimtongue.

    "Aye, jus' Gritnail's yellin'. Ah well, I better go check up." Picking up the axe at his side, he emerged form the cave entrance to find Patchouli holding Gritnail at cutlass point.

    "A rabbet?" he snarled, spitting contemptuously at Gritnail. "Ya lost ta a single rabbet?"

    "A single rabbit was it, wot?" Patchouli kicked Gritnail to the side. "Ha! I can take both of ya with one paw!" Showing his point, Patchouli put his spare paw to his back.

    Snarling, Grimtongue lunged with his axe, swinging it hazardously at Patchouli. Patchouli scowled at the clumsy vermin, brushing the axeblade aside with his own cutlass. Grimtongue stumbled from the momentum of the swing.

    While Patchouli was busy with Grimtongue, Gritnail had picked up his spear. Just as he was about to charge the hare from behind, Furlough sprung from the ferns, mimicking Patchouli's cry. "Eulaliaaaaaa!"

    Turning hastily, Gritnail raised his spear just in time to parry Furlough's charge. "Another 'un? I'll kill ya!" Gritnail snarled, pushing Furlough back.

    Meanwhile, Patchouli was locked in combat with Grimtongue. The rat kept trying to dash down the entrance to the hedgehog's home, but Patchouli would maneuver him away with deft movements every time. The rat's good eye narrowed at the hare, and he bared his teeth.

    "Feel free t'call out your friend inside too," Patchouli smiled coolly.

    ((Doing the same thing as you, I suppose. xD))

  14. #44
    Dibbun Patchouli's Avatar
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    Grimtongue bit his lip, seeing his disadvantage in the fight. As tempting as Patchouli's suggestion was, Grimtongue wasn't all that dense. Now that the otter had popped out of nowhere, he was unsure of the numbers they were up against. If Mireye was caught, then the situation would be completely hopeless for them. He brought his axe up again, feigning confidence. "Hah! Me axeblade is enough fer one rabbet. I'll skin ya alive!"

    Patchouli side stepped another attempted swing of the axe. Shaking his head in disappointment, he whacked the rat with the flat of his cutlass on the paw. "Skin me? Not likely, wot! Your form and skill is terrible, doncha know. Don't play with a twig too heavy for you, cuz that's what it certainly looks like, eh?" The axeblade buried itself near Patchouli's footpaw, and with lightning fast reflexes, the hare's long hind leg shot up, dealing a hard kick to Grimtongue's stomach.

    Staggering back, the rat buckled over. The axe was flung beside him.

    "Pick up your weapon, sah!" Patchouli commanded. "Or you might find yourself t'be the one skinned."

    The rat knew he was routed, but couldn't find a way back to the cave. As he stooped to pick up his weapon, he called to Mireye. "Mireye! Ma-!"

    He never got further. Patchouli had closed the distance between them in one huge leap, and with his full weight behind his slash, severed the unfortunate rat's head.


    But Mireye had heard the call of distress. Setting down the pastie he had been scoffing, he became serious. He grabbed the struggling Leyah by the arm, menacing her with his sword as he led her along the tunnel to the entrance. "Better come wit' me, missie, you'll be perfect fer these situations." He laughed nastily. The point of his sword was at Leyah's back as she led the way to the entrance.

    Patchouli peeked through the entrance. Furlough was done with his own fight, and stood on the other side of the cave. Patchouli whispered urgently. "As soon as the hedgehog's in reach, pull 'er through. The rat's stupid, not even holdin' on t'her. He won't be used t'the dark, wot."

    The hare's predication was right. Too comfortable with the light inside the cave, the rat's night vision wasn't able to adjust in time to the dark of night. The sound of battle had quieted down, but unable to see anything, he extended too far towards the entrance. Furlough's paws shot out and hauled Layal to safety, and the butt of Gritnail's spear thudded into Mireye's nose immediately after. His scream echoed down the tunnel as he brought both paws up to shield his targeted nose.

    Leyah had mistaken Furlough for an enemy, and was about to attack him. Furlough's paws shot out, showing that he was unarmed. "Easy there, marm! We're friends! Marla, ye can come out now!"

    "Bring the vines, mind!" Patchouli added, dragging out Mireye, who had lose his sword and was not in the mood to fight.

    Marla's head appeared from the bed of ferns. "Ma!" Seeing the two victors, he ran towards her mother, the vines trailing out behind her.

    "Marla! You're alright!" Marla jumped into Leyah's open arms.

    Patchouli relieved Marla of the makeshift ropes, leaving the two to have a moment. He bound the blubbering Mireye. The rat had seen the carcass of Grimtongue. "Please don't kill me, sir! It was them - they forced poor Mireye to go along wit' 'em!"

    The hare silenced him with a stern look. "Oh, I won't be sendin' you t'hellgates yet. Furlough, how's the other one?" He gestured to the fallen Gritnail.

  15. #45
    Patroller Mulchior Lancer's Avatar
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    ((Had to make this a three parter, as it sets up the next leg of the current quest))

    Furlough padded along in silence, following Patchouli along the line of trees and brush that led to the Barbzwood oak. Before separating, the hare instructed him to jump in only when the odds were against him. The otter used the opportunity to study Patchouli’s methods in engaging combat. The hare managed to disarm the guard in a swift motion. It didn’t take long for the panicked guard to call for help, and a rat emerged from the home, brandishing a deadly axe. However, it was soon apparent that these rats weren’t the most skilled at their weapons, as Patchouli punished the rat’s sloppy opening attack.

    But as Patchouli dueled the newcomer, the rat sentry recovered his spear and readied to ambush the hare from behind. Furlough gripped his cutlass and swallowed hard; his time had come to join in the battle. Leaping from his hiding spot, Furlough charged the rat and yelled the Long Patrol battle cry aloud, making the blood rush through his veins. "Eulaliaaaaaa!"

    Gritnail spotted Furlough out of the corner of his eye just in time, using his spear to parry the otter’s lunge attack. The rat was in a sour mood, having been embarrassed by Patchouli’s superior skill, and the otter ruining his sneak attack. The rat gripped the spear with both paws and snarled, "Another 'un? I'll kill ya!" before pushing Furlough back with a mighty counter shove.

    “Urgh!” Furlough stumbled backwards, almost falling back on his rear from the rat’s rebuff. The otter scolded himself; having made the same mistake Grimtongue had done moments before. Furlough didn’t have long to catch his balance, as Gritnail was hot in pursuit, thrusting vicious jabs at the otter with his spear. The otter hopped back and forth, dodging the sharp metal point protruding at the tip of the spear.

    “Stand still so I ken split yas,” jeered the sneering rat as he swung the spear in an arc at the otter’s midsection. The blade tip grazed the otter’s tunic, cutting into the fabric. Panic set in the otter as he remained on the defensive at the rat’s aggressive onslaught. Gritnail’s scowl turned to a satisfied smirk; he wasn’t facing a warrior, just some young pup that fancied himself as one. The rat strode with confidence towards the retreating otter like a predator ready to pounce on its prey.

    “Yer jus’ what I need, somethin’ to kill ta get some steam out,” mocked Gritnail, The rat took his spear and toyed with Furlough, pretending to jab at him twice before laughing cruelly as the otter flinched back each time. The otter hadn’t jumped back far enough, and Girtnail leapt forward and smacked Furlough hard against the side of his head with the wooden part of the spear. Furlough recoiled diagonally, almost blacking out from the blunt force of the attack. As the otter stumbled around stunned, the rat leaned against his spear and roared with laughter. “Harhar, yer a real laugh, riverdog.”

    Furlough’s head throbbed in pain, but the otter shook it and reoriented himself. Come on Furl, get ahold of yerself, thought Furlough, reprimanding himself. Remember what pop taught ya about spearfightin’ an’ use it to yer advantage.

    Gritnail chuckled as he lazily walked towards the otter, ready to finish him off. “Well, it’s been fun lad, but I don’t have time ta play soljer wit ya anymore.” Yet in the moments that Gritnail took to mock his opponent, Furlough gathered his senses and recovered. Furlough continued to play stunned as Gritnail readied his spear to run the otter through.

    As Gritnail charged at Furlough with a finishing blow, the otter gripped the cutlass with both paws and ran to meet his opponent headlong, the fire of battle burning in his bright brown eyes.

    Furlough parried the spear attack and the two locked weapons. Gritnail’s eyes widened in surprise as Furlough stepped closer and closer, his blade shaving off a bit of the ash wood of the rat’s spear. Furlough kicked Gritnail hard in the stomach, followed by a hard elbow to the rat’s face, causing the rat to stumble back in shock.

    “Throw down yer weapon and surrender, or I’ll send ye to Hellgates,” warned Furlough. His voice was deep and full of conviction, like a seasoned warrior. The rat spat blood from his mouth and readied his spear.

    “I’d die befer I gave up t’ th’ likes of yew,” hissed Gritnail, raising his spear again for another attack, but the young warrior was on him.

    Furlough gave his opponent no quarter, no moment of rest, as he stayed directly in Gritnail’s space and out of range of the deadly spearpoint. Gritnail could only hit Furlough uselessly against the otter’s side with the midsection of the spear, but couldn’t get any momentum for any hard blows. Furlough swung his cutlass with purpose, keeping the spear from getting any sort of space advantage.

    Fear welled up inside the rat, and Gritnail stepped back looking for a way for a hasty retreat, but it was a fatal glance. Grabbing Gritnail by his tunic, Furlough drew back his cutlass and buried it deep inside the rat’s midsection. Gritnail looked down in disbelief at the blade protruding from his chest and let out a garbled sob before the light left his eyes for good. As Gritnail’s body slumped to his knees, Furlough freed his blade from the corpse and let it fall to the ground. A sense of relief washed over the otter, he had defeated his foe while in his state of mind.

    However, there was no time to rest, Furlough glanced back at Patchouli and saw the hare’s attention focused on the entrance to the home with weapon drawn, so the fight wasn’t over yet. Hurrying to his friend’s side, the hare kept his sights on the entrance below while giving the otter orders on the final phase of the rescue.

    “As soon as the hedgehog's in reach, pull 'er through. The rat's stupid, not even holdin' on t'her. He won't be used t'the dark, wot," commanded Patchouli.

    “Aye aye,” answered Furlough in a whisper, sheathing his blade passing Patchouli Gritnail’s old spear. If worst came to worst, the hare could use the spear’s length to get in between the hedgehog and the rat.

    As soon as Leyah emerged from the dark hole, Furlough grabbed onto the hedgehog’s arm and yanked her away, pulling her out of Mireye’s reach. Furlough dragged Leyah close to the edge of the woods, but the panicked hedgehog flailed her arms, trying to claw at the otter. Furlough let go of Leyah at once and raised his paws, showing her he was unarmed.

    "Easy there, marm! We're friends!” assured Furlough, before turning in the direction they left Marla. “Marla, ye can come out now!" Leyah stopped her attack at once, sensing the otter told the truth.

    “Ye know my sweet lil’ Marla?” she asked, hope rising in her voice.

    "Bring the vines, mind!" Patchouli added, having easily defeated Mireye.

    Marla popped he head up, and upon seeing her mother her face shone with excitement. “Ma!” The hedgehog maid ran with the vines as she ran full force to the waiting arms of her mother.

    "Marla! You're alright!" Marla jumped into Leyah's open arms. The two wept and laughed, happy to be reunited after all they had been through. Furlough couldn’t help but smile at the happy reunion. Patchouli used Marla’s vines to bind Mireye securely so he’d stay out of trouble.

    “Furlough, how's the other one?" asked Patchouli, gesturing at the fallen Gritnail.

    “Oh, that one?” answered Furlough with a shrug. “He won’t be botherin’ anyone ever again. Gave ‘im a chance to give up, but some beast don’t listen to reason.”

    Patchouli patted Furlough on the back, sensing the otter wasn’t remorseful like he had been after his first fight. “Well done, wot! Ya did well lad.”

    Furlough nodded and smiled at the compliment before rubbing the side of his head where he was hit. It wasn’t a serious injury, but his head ached from the throbbing. The otter yawned, the fight having taken a lot out of the young lad. The two had been up since early the previous day, and after rowing all day, followed by two fights and a long trek was wearing thin on the otter. Patchouli was exhausted as well, but the more experienced campaigner was more used to this kind of lifestyle.

    “Come on, let’s check up on the other two,” suggested Patchouli, knowing that the best way to stay awake was to keep moving. Furlough nodded, and the two headed towards the reunited mother and daughter.
    “Aha! Today I shall become an author! And I will auth and auth and auth and make a squillion dollars, whoopee!”
    -Brian Jacques

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