Categories > Books > Redwall > Pride of Kavazara

Chapter 3: Ominous Signs

by Forge 0 reviews

An deadly, ancient enemy comes from the Far Northlands, seeking to satisfy a cold, base hunger. The castle of New Kavazara, Bladestone, opposes them... but it may not be enough.

Category: Redwall - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Action/Adventure, Fantasy - Warnings: [!!] - Published: 2006-02-21 - Updated: 2006-02-21 - 2268 words

Gregory P. Wong

Chapter Three: Ominous Signs

Diary of Brother Audrin Bankvole, Redwall Abbey Recorder.

My name is Audrin, and this is my seventh season as Abbey Recorder, ever since old Josiah passed to Dark Forest. I'm happy to say life here at Redwall is still mostly pleasant and prosperous. The Winter of the Three-Star Leaf is only just now beginning, and the harvests were plentiful. All beasts are still happy under Abbess Vivian, successor to the late Abbess Rosemary. With winter setting its cold claws into the grounds, there is not much anybeast can do, except eat, sleep, and play.
And, in my case, write endlessly.
However, we Redwallers are still painfully aware of what a meager winter can bring. No doubt vermin bands will make a show before our walls exhorting for food or nonexistent treasure. Fortunately, we learned our lessons after the--thankfully long-ago!--escapades with the ferret Kurda, the corsair Plugg Firetail, and the searat Raga Bol. At those times, no true warriors walked Redwall's grounds, and we were nearly defenseless but for quick thinkers. And it was only the timely arrival of a Long Patrol hare detachment that saved Redwall from the wolverine Gulo the Savage.
The Guosim shrews ("Guosim" is an acronym for "Guerilla Union of Shrews in Mossflower", in case it has slipped your mind) and the otter tribe station garrisons here at all seasons, alternating every two seasons. Right now, one and a half score of recently-arrived otters under the female Winopal stand armed and ready to repulse any greedy or bold vermin. In addition, the far-ranging Wanderers of Mossflower are also pledged to our defense.
Of course, no one can ever ignore our Abbey Warrior, Wallace. He's a handsome, strapping young mouse, brown of fur and green of eye. In fact, I remember when that young rascal was only a little mousebabe, a Dibbun! Such a fine troublemaker... it reminds me of my early years.
However, he is now a responsible young adult--for the most part--and he carries the mighty sword of Martin the Warrior with ease. Of course, his mischievous spirit is not completely gone, and more than once I have seen him helping the Dibbuns execute one scheme or another. Indeed, it was only a quick remembrance of /my own prank-pulling days that kept me from being doused with water from a bucket balanced on the kitchen door! Since the Dibbuns are too short to have done it, I assume our very own Wallace was responsible. That mouse! One of these days, our Badger Mother, Minerva, will box his ears so hard it will knock some seriousness into him. However, I must confess I like Wallace the way he his just fine./
One of Wallace's Dibbunhood friends, the young hare Danforth Bouncefoot Fangleton Townes is also in residence. My word, what a name! He is just known as Danforth, or even Dan, around here. (Though Mother Minerva oftentimes calls him a "rascally long-eared bunny rabbit!") The young hare was abandoned here at our gates with only a season under him, and he has fit into Redwall life quite well these past seasons. He does have the legendary hare appetite, though. Like Wallace, he is also a fine fighter. And, to the chagrin of some of the elders, he was also a horrible prankster.
The other beasts of Wallace's generation are also growing up as nice as can be. Redwall seems to have a boom of young, strong adults as of late! Though Redwall is not a warlike place, the garrisons and young beasts we have here should be a deterrent to anybeast bearing ill-will. Sister Bria won't let up about a young harvest mouse, Leena, who is both a duteous helper and an expert saber-fighter.
However, mystery still surrounds Wallace's selection as Redwall Champion. Martin came to the young mouse in a dream, telling him to take up the sword. Wallace, of course, took up Martin's blade in accordance with the long-dead Warrior's wishes. That is in no way in dispute. What many of us wonder is /why Wallace was chosen. Mossflower patrols and such have reported nothing more threatening than roving bands of bedraggled vermin. Why a Warrior is needed now is still an unanswered question./
Or, perhaps not. All is not well in Mossflower. While Redwall hasn't been seriously harmed in any way, something... bad is stirring in the woods. Why, just a few weeks ago Winopal found a savaged hedgehog body in the middle of Mossflower. At least, the otter thought it was a hedgehog. The body was so chewed up-W-inopal was adamant in recounting the tooth marks--that it was nearly unrecognizable. There was also that poor rabbit family found by Logalog and his Guosim shrews several days before that. And, perhaps most intriguing, was the reports of shadowy figures flitting through the woodlands, seeming to melt into trees and rocks.
I do not normally like to finish my journal entries on such a morbid note, but lunch looks ready to be served. I solemnly hope that whatever is lurking in Mossflower can be discovered and stopped.

"Wallace!" he heard someone call his name from behind as he wandered the courtyard.
Wallace, Warrior of Redwall, turned around.
"Oh, hello, Leena," he said as he saw the pretty harvest mouse hurrying towards him.
"Where are you going?" Leena said, smiling. Her soft tan fur and brown eyes matched so nicely.
"I was going to patrol the northern battlement. I'll relieve the sentry up there."
"Oh, no you won't, Wallace. You've been pulling twice the shifts around here! Please, just rest for at least one day. Seasons know you deserve it."
He blinked. He was sure the mousemaid was taken with him. He didn't mind at all. She was young-actually, compared to him, she was only younger by half a season-pretty, level-headed, considerate, and possessed of quite a headstrong personality. And, though he never found out where she learned it, she was quite good with a saber.
In fact, he'd sparred with her on several occasions, and she came close to beating him every single time.
"Well..." he said vaguely, waving his arms towards the battlements.
Let's see... what could he say? Maybe if he told her the other sentry hadn't had-
"No, Wallace, you're not going there," Leena said firmly. The mousemaid took his paw in her firm grip. "No," she repeated, "you're coming to rest and eat lunch."
He gave a little inward sigh. "Yes, Leena."
The harvest mouse's mouth quirked into a grin. He always thought she was even prettier when smiling.
"Good, at least you know your place. Come along now," Leena said a tad imperiously. He couldn't help but snort.
Leena frowned. "What? Did I say something funny?"
He got his sniggering under control. "Not really. It was just then you sounded extraordinarily like Mother Minerva telling the Dibbuns to take a bath."
The mousemaid arched an eyebrow. Now she looked like Brother Audrin.
And, of course, he couldn't help but laugh again.
"Now who do I look like?"
"With your eyebrow cocked like that you look like... like..." he started to laugh again. He took a couple more whooping breaths before he calmed down.
Now... how to tell her? Ah!
"Do you remember that one day when poor Audrin told the rest of us that he'd almost been the victim of a falling water bucket balanced on a door?"
Leena looked like she remembered. "Yes, it was about three weeks-Wallace, you didn't!"
"Didn't what?"
She put a paw over her mouth. She was probably trying to look indignant, but he could she was trying to hide laughter.
"Were you the one who put the bucket there?" Leena said from behind her paw,
He rolled his whiskers. No point in telling her otherwise. Besides, she wouldn't believe him if he said no, anyways.
"Er, yes."
"Oh, I knew it!" she laughed, supporting herself on his shoulder as she doubled up in giggles. "And I'll wager that Audrin asked if you did it, you said 'no', and he raised his eyebrow like I did!"
"Exactly," he said, grinning himself. Leena's laugh was infectious. He put a paw to his shoulder to help her steady herself.
Then, suddenly, he noticed that the mousemaid was very, very close. Their laughter died away. He slowly took Leena's paw off his shoulders, and held it between his two paws.
He couldn't think of anything to say. His mind swirled through hundreds of words and their combinations.
Then, suddenly, he realized how comical the situation was. He gave a low grunt of laughter. At that, the tension broke and he and Leena laughed again. They made their way towards the Great Hall's entrance.
"Well, where is this lunch you wanted to show me?" he asked with a grin.
"Follow me, then. Water buckets, indeed! You're just an overgrown Dibbun, Wallace! Try not to dash the cordials with hotroot, you."
"Oh, I wouldn't dare. Audrin might think it was me again."
"What are you talking about? It was you who did the water pail!"
"True. However, only you and Danforth know that."
Leena looked like she was about to say something when a heavy, lightish-brown figure slammed into her. With a quick grab, he saved the mousemaid from falling. He looked at the culprit.
Ah. Danforth Bouncefoot Fangleton Townes. A rascal to be sure, but that was a case of the kettle calling the pot black, wasn't it?
"Ah, sorry, Leena!" said Dan all in a rush. Since he hadn't been raised by hares, he lacked the colloquialisms prevalent among them. "Mother Minerva caught me, er..."
" 'Er' /what/, Dan? Did you steal...?" He asked pointedly.
"Well, she found me eating one of Brother Burrchopp's mince pies." Brother Burrchopp was the head cook.
Dan was always eating. Wouldn't he ever learn?
"And now, er, Minerva looks like she wants to wallop me over the head with-uh-oh!"
In keeping up with the ridiculous course of events, Danforth ducked behind a snow-covered bush as Mother Minerva came storming out of the abbey, as if on cue. He and Leena stopped to watch the tableau.
"You gluttonous, pie-stealing, feed-munching, long-eared excuse of a rabbit!" Minerva roared. "Where are you, Danforth!?"
Mother Minerva was a relatively young badger mother, no more than forty-five seasons old. As such, she was still in possession of powerful muscles.
Not to mention that copper cooking ladle.
It would probably be a very bad idea to even give a hint that he and Leena knew where Dan was.
"Ooh... when I get my paws on him... he'll be scrubbing pots until his little tail falls off..." grumbled the badger as she began to search the grounds.
As soon as the outraged Minerva was out of earshot, he leaned towards the bushes where the hare was concealed, and muttered "She's gone. Now's your chance."
Dan gave a loud sigh of relief and leaped from the bushes. "Phew! Close one there!" the hare began to crow, not bothering to keep his voice down. "That ol' slow-footpawed stripedog nearly had-"
Oh, dear.
"There /you/ /are/!" screeched Minerva from a few yards away. "/Come back here/!"
"Oh, dear. Gotta run!" yelped Danforth as he took of at top speed deeper into the courtyard, the badger in hot pursuit.
He and Leena just stared the way Dan and Minerva had rushed off to.
He couldn't hold it back any longer.
So the laughing began and continued until his sides started to hurt. Leena was hooting uncontrollably, too, clutching her ribs.
After the gasps had-mostly-subsided, he slipped a small handkerchief from his tunic pocket and handed it to Leena so she could wipe the tears of mirth from her face.
"That was quite easily the most hilarious thing I have seen," Leena said reflectively.
"I definitely agree," he replied. He turned to Leena and retrieved his slightly damp kerchief. "Now, I think it's time when had something to eat... before Danforth somehow manages to take it all!"

Up on the southern battlements, Winopal the otter was treated to quite an interesting sight. She had never seen a badger move so fast.
"Get back here, Danforth!"
"Sorry, marm, but not while you're holding that obscenely hard ladle!"
"I'll give you hard /ladle/, you thief!"
Blinking and trying to suppress laughter, she turned to stare out over Mossflower. T'was a nice winter day with some new snow on the ground.
The pines and rowans and yews and beeches all shimmered with new snow. The ground along the southern regions was a tiny bit rocky, and she could spy the stream running toward the east. She would be more than happy when spring arrived and the ice melted. Aye, she wasn't a "riverdog" for nothing!
And there were the eyes.
She had almost missed them.
That was all she could see. Whatever owned those eyes was hiding or camouflaged.
"Mudskip!" she called to the other otter on the southern wall. "We 'ave a--" She stopped, dumb, when she saw the eyes were gone.
"Yeah?" the younger otter called.
"Never mind."
"Righto." The younger otter went back to scanning the area.
She massaged her head. Perhaps this was a sign of aging. She wasn't all that young anymore; she was approaching her thirty-eighth season already. She was still strong and agile, but...
Shaking her head, she wrapped her cloak around herself tighter.
Redwall would be facing its share of trouble in the very near future. By the fur, she hoped it wasn't as bad as she felt it would be...
Sign up to rate and review this story