Categories > Books > Redwall > Pride of Kavazara

Chapter 9: Resolutions

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: [!!] [V] - Published: 2006-03-05 - Updated: 2006-03-05 - 5310 words

Gregory P. Wong

Chapter Nine: Resolutions

Okay, she and the other lieutenant were finally down the mountain. The forests weren't too bad, and little ponds here and there gave them fresh water for cleaning and drinking. And the dirt was soft, not packed with little arsehole pebbles.
Still, though... the fur was bothering her. Now would be a good time, wouldn't it?
Whatever. Maybe in a few minutes.
Tigron was leading the way now, since the sand marten looked like he knew what he doing. Besides, the other Wraith held that mechbow like a Pathfinder scout leader. Obviously a good trailblazer. Too bad Tigron was such a pain though.
Wasn't he?
"We should stop here now." Well, it was dark, but who cared? "It's late, and we'd better get some shut-eye."
"The reason being?" she needled.
"The reason being that this is a strange forest, we're tired, and I'm sure as heck not going to stumble around in the dark and have some Dervaga chop our arses," she heard the sand marten growl.
But... No, scratch that. Another night wouldn't be bad. Besides, she could ask...
She and Tigron set their stuff down, got a small fire started and unrolled their blankets. It kind of sucked to sleep in armor, but life was never a walk in the park.
"I'll take first watch," Tigron said simply. "Get your rest."
Whoa! No way she was letting Tigron slip past this opportunity.
"Cool," she growled, "but I have one teensy-eensy thing I need you to answer for."
"Yeah?" Tigron snapped, but, ooh, the sand marten had just tensed a bit. Yep, she had the bastard, whatever Tigron had done.
"Explain /these/," she spat, and held up the brown hairs right in Tigron's muzzle.
Blood drained away from the other lieutenant's face. She swore she heard Tigron gasp "Fark."
"Yeah, 'fark'. You'd better have some good excuses for how these hairs /got under my tunic/, or there will be Hellgates to pay, sandscratcher."
Damn. For some reason, insulting Tigron left her with a funny feeling in her stomach. Cripes, were those remorseful feelings still bouncing around there?
Yes, they were.
"I... You..." stammered the other lieutenant.
"What? Wanted to sneak a feel, /Tigron/? Couldn't find a date, /Tigron/?" she snarled. Damn, she was pissed.
And then the sand marten lost the shocked expression and plastered something that looked almost like anger, but with something... else? Tigron shot to his footpaws.
"I did it because you would have died, /Raezel/!" she watched Tigron roar as he fumbled in his belt for something. "Dammit, I don't know if it was the motherfarking right decision, but I wasn't letting you die out there in the damned desert!"
Uh... what?
Fleacrap! That's what had happened! She hadn't been feeling tired, she'd been getting heatstroke.
"And, fleacrap, you know what? Explain /these/, why don't you?"
And she watched Tigron hold up some white hairs.
Oh, no.
She'd made sure Tigron wouldn't have a clue of what she'd done, so how...
Oh, spiderspit, she'd missed some stuff. Oh, Hellgates... now her blood was probably flowing away from her face
But, guess what? She was angry right now, and... something was up. What was that weird emotion bouncing around right now?
"Oh, those?" she growled. "I don't know about you, but I didn't feel like letting you turn into the world's first frozen marten."
And then, weird, the anger drained out. Those words just... what? Calmed?
Weird as it was, Tigron wasn't looking livid right now, either.
But something was bugging her.
"Tigron..." she said softly. "Why?"
She saw the other Wraith stiffen a bit, then relax. Well, time to hear it.
"You and I... we have too much in common to let the other die so easily. The moment you die, I'm all alone with the memories and the pain," Tigron said quietly.
The pain... her family... Tigron's family...
Were those tears building up in those brown eyes?
"You know, I've talked to other beasts back at Bladestone, and I still haven't met one who can say they've been through the crap you and me have been through. That'/s/ why I just didn't let you bake."
She saw a muscle jerk on the sand marten's cheek. The other Wraith's voice was getting weird, too...
"If you died, a part of me would die."

Wow, that was probably the stupidest thing to say. Now--
Wait a minute! Raezel's eyes just went all watery, like she was about to...
Cry? Raezel crying?
Of course the snow vixen could cry. He'd seen it firsthand, after all. Shock number gazillion of the night.
He watched the other lieutenant take a couple of deep breaths.
"I guess that's sort of the same reasons why I just didn't let you freeze," Raezel whispered. "I'm not exactly a brave beast, y'know? I can't stand being alone with all that pain."
"No, don't say that," he said, "you are brave. Heck, a coward would have just written me off and let me die. No, you're..." Damn, that was getting out of paw. "Never mind." Why the heck had he just said /that/!?
Raezel looked at him oddly.
"Tigron, that was... I don't know. Revealing, I guess," the snow vixen said quietly. "Well, I have some things to say, too."
He waited. What now? This was turning into one screwy night.
"You know how we always had nothing to say to each other but insults and all that?" He heard Raezel exhale and shake her head. "You know, I've always just blurted those things out, and I never really took a look at my feelings. Spiderspit, it was natural, I guess.
"But you know what? I just really thought about it right now. Every 'sandscratcher!' was, I don't know, affecting me. Cripes, every time I hurt you... I... I was hurting myself. Those were the flutterings I got in my heart every time I knocked you down."
Holy spiderspit. That was so bizarre.
Because it was like him, too. Now that he thought about it... every little unkind thing he spat at the snow fox was hurting him, too, hurting him bad. The snow fox never deserved any of that total crap. None of it.
Weird, how it took a couple of open hearts to change perceptions like this.
But opening hearts could only go so far. Mouths needed to work.
"Raezel," he croaked. Damn, and his throat, of course, picked this moment to be dry. "No, I don't think you're stupid for feeling that way, since, heck, that's how I felt too." He gulped. This was gonna be weird. "Raezel... I'm sorry for all those times. Whichever you and I can remember. I..." What else could he farking say to fix all that pain?
Raezel spoke up. What? "Tigron, me too. All that I ever said to you to hurt you, I'm sorry, so sorry"
Huh? Something felt different. It was like some metaphorical boulder had just been taken from his shoulders. And, without that little regret down there, something was... different.
Was Raezel Snowdance now a... a... /friend/!? Was it possible?
Of course it farking was. It had always been.
But... really now. Despite all those hurts and pains and crap, something was weird about it all. He'd never thought about it, but Raezel had always been a friend. No matter what he said to her, or what she slapped down on him, somehow he didn't want her to leave his life. It was a weird friendship and all, but...
But what in Dark Forest was this now?
Drat, were they now... even closer?
And then he noticed Raezel was very near to him. Well, yeah, the snow fox had been about ready to bite his head off. Now...
She was beautiful, maybe even more so in the firelight. The tears... Heck, it showed that the other Wraith had feelings too... surprise, surprise. And it didn't make his feel out of place.
But Raezel was so close. Those bright blue eyes, that snow-white fur, those beautiful fine features.
But the look now. No more anger... just, something else.
And then Raezel hugged him. He hugged the snow vixen back.
"Tigron, Tigron, I'm so sorry," Raezel quavered. "We've always been so damned close, but I was too /stupid/. All that 'sandscratcher' and all."
Was that true? Probably. No, definitely. He and her had something that he had never felt when he talked to other beasts.
"Raezel, that makes two of us. But that can be changed."
Damn, that was a trite thing to say. And--
His muzzle was dipping down slightly. What was he--
And he felt his lips lock with Raezel's as his arm wrapped around her body.
Holy heck, it was... wonderful.
And then he felt his body sink to the ground, taking Raezel's with it.
And then...

Only another day before the horde reached Redwall.
Tanth tore his gaze from the starlit sky and strolled about the camp slowly strolling past Grimtooth's sleeping place.
Yes, yes, nothing out of the ordinary. Hordebeasts were sitting around campfires, warming themselves. Ah... to just be able to sit and enjoy a nice fire and not worry about Grimtooth's counsel.
Or other things.
What was that?
A figure had just flown out of Grimtooth's tent. Looked like a ferret or weasel, and the moonlight showed that the beast had a light fur, almost gold... Oh, no, was it...
He felt his throat go dry. Veredia was completely naked, freshly bruised, a bit bloody on the back, fur was matted with sweat and... other substances.
Grimtooth, Grimtooth, why?
Well, it didn't look like the chieftain was coming out, so Veredia was unquestionably "done" for the night. Hmm... that was a first. When was the last time he'd seen the slave dismissed from the tent?
He hurried over to the sobbing ferret and knelt next to her. Good thing the guards hadn't down anything, or he'd have had them doing some extremely unpleasant extra duty the next day.
He placed a paw on the fem's shoulder.
"Please, please, I'll do whatever you want. Just don't hurt me anymore!" he heard the other ferret sob.
"No, no, I won't--"
He stopped. Veredia had just passed out.
Damn, a dilemma. It would be best to leave the slave here. Oh, the guards might have a touch of sport with the other ferret, but nothing worse than that.
And that was completely wrong.
He hefted the fem up. Not too bad... Veredia was so thin.
He propped the female onto his shoulders and walked back to his own tent. Ugh, now was the time for the regret of keeping his tent near the edge of the camp to set in. But, still, at least Veredia was light...
He placed the unconscious beast on his sleeping blankets.
Now, light a small fire--the hole in the center of the tent allowed smoke to leave, conveniently--warm some water, prep some bandages, and bring out some herbs. It was good that Father had known a bit about medicines and plants.
He dipped a washcloth into the hot water and began to clean off the female. Poor thing...
"Nooo!" he heard the slave scream as the washcloth passed over her face.
"Shh," he murmured. By Dark Forest, this had better be a soothing tone... "I won't harm you. Don't squirm, or you'll just aggravate your cuts."
Well, Veredia wasn't fighting anymore, but the beating of the heart was still fast.
"What are you going to do? Please, not more--"
No, no, none of that. "Veredia"--he made sure to say her name very softly--"I'm not going to do anything to you except do my best to tend to you. Satisfactory, yes?"
"But why?"
Damnation, that was it. How sad... Veredia had obviously never been shown unconditional kindness, and this was coming as a shock.
"Because there are beasts in this world who actually show compassion." Hmm... "But I'll have to admit that this horde is a poor place to find them."
Veredia blinked those emerald eyes in what looked like puzzlement. Then they widened into shock.
"Am I that far gone already?" he heard Veredia whisper.
What was that supposed to mean? "Hmm?"
"It's because I... never mind. You don't need to hear it."
Exceedingly strange. Was Veredia actually displaying signs of confidence now?
Well, it would best to not make a comment on it, no?
He continued cleaning Veredia's body. Though, really, it was a rather nice body...
No! Those thoughts had to go. Veredia had to do seasons knew what in Grimtooth's tent.
He swabbed the rest of her--of course, without staring at certain parts--and wrapped a bandage around the female ferret's left thigh, which had a relatively deep cut. Otherwise, it would be better to let the other scratches and cuts to air-dry.
He dug around one of his packs for... ah, there. The trousers and tunic were a bit tattered, and would be probably large on Veredia, but they would suffice. Well, it would be best to look away while the other ferret dressed. Not that he hadn't seen... everything.
Well, that was that. Veredia was in decent condition.
And that was a complete lie. But...
"Veredia, I've done the best I can. Go and get some rest."
He turned to meet the female's eyes.
"What is it, Veredia?"
He watched Veredia's eyes lower.
"How can I thank you?"
He almost blurted it out, how the other ferret could thank him, but his integrity wouldn't allow it. That was shameful that it even came to his mind! How... how... despicable.
"There's no need to thank me. I just do what any decent-hearted beast should do. But, as I said, decent hearts are scarce here."
He watched Veredia nod sadly. My, how her demeanor had changed so drastically! The female wasn't looking timid, and was that steel in that spine? But that steel wasn't as hard as it should be, completely, and neither was she completely confident. Indeed if Grim--
Veredia was suddenly very close.
"There is a way I can thank you, with the only thing I can offer."
He suddenly noticed that Veredia's green eyes were nearly brimming over with tears. And that her nearly emaciated face had a shadow of beauty to it. And...
"Veredia... I can't accept that! It's not... I can't--"
And then Veredia's finger was pressed to his lips. That was a hint to stop talking, but... but...
"Shh, Tanth. You're not forcing yourself on me. I freely give of myself. Hush now."
And then he felt Veredia's lips meet his.

Nice pillow.
It was great to be on a decent bed again, really. And, hah hah, no armor! That stuff made her stiff as a rock, and it was great to be out of it. And it was warm too, not that open-air sleep-inside-a-blanket chill that was almost always present. Really, it felt like somebeast was next to her or something. She felt a bit of an ache over some parts of her body, but, oh well, she could just barely feel them now. It was better to think about the bed than to think about last night... such an emotional thing, if truth be told.
To think that Tigron had saved her too, and that she had finally admitted to how she felt for every insult she tossed at Tigron. Really now.
Speaking of more pleasant things to think about, this was kind of a weird position, though. She was half on her left side, her front pressing against something. Her head was resting on something hard and warm. Her right leg was also draped over something. Weird thing, too. The object in question was warm, furred, muscular, and--
Raezel's eye popped open, and she saw Tigron's open up at the same time. The sun was just rising.
"GAAHH!" she screamed, taking her head off Tigron's chest and rolling off.
"YEEHH!" Tigron yelped at the same time, also scrambling away.
Okay, what in the world /was this/!? Cuddly time with Tigron wasn't exactly the--
Oh, geez.
She'd been under the covers, yeah, and so had Tigron. And she had just rolled out of the covers, and so did Tigron. And thus she wasn't under the covers, and neither was Tigron.
And she was completely naked, and so was Tigron.
What in farking, spiderspit-sloshing, fleacrap-biting--
"What did we... Did we... how...?" she heard Tigron splutter.
And then she remembered. Oh. Damn.
"For your first question," she muttered wryly," the word you're looking for is probably 'screw.' The second one is 'yes we did.' And the third--"
"Would be 'very energetically, after removing clothing' yeah," she heard Tigron finish.
Okay, shock ranked number one of all things shocking. Yep.
She watched Tigron rub his head. "Wow... this is weird. One minute we were going to knock each other's head off, and then..."
There really wasn't a need to finish.
She shivered. Spiderspit, it wasn't cold, but she'd been so nice and cozy. She heard Tigron take a breath.
And then Tigron got back under the covers and gave her a pointed look.
Okay... So she and Tigron had, er, done things last night. Did that mean she should be affectionate to Tigron too? After all, past all the emotional stuff from last night, that meditation thing was still strange. Should their relationship be this serious?
That was a stupid question.
She crawled back under the blanket. Better prop her head up with her arm, since there was a lot to talk about now.
Yes, talk. Talk would be good.
"So," she started, "you think we can work this out?"
"You know, I'd lie if I just said 'yes, easily,'" she heard him admit. "We'll have to work pretty damn hard to keep us from driving each other nuts."
Oh, yeah, so true. "I know. Cripes." Hmm, she just had a thought. "But you know what, if we both work really, really hard, we could probably pull it off, your meditation things notwithstanding."
She saw Tigron shoot her a disbelieving look. "Huh? My meditation will be the problem? Excuse /me/, but your whole 'action, action, and more action' mentality will be the difficult part."
What? No way. Tigron's whole­--
No, no, no. It was just both of them found the other a bit different. And, another thing...
"That was funny. Our first little fight." She chuckled.
Tigron smiled slightly and rolled over onto his back. "Yeah, lover's quarrel. True, it was kind of a dumb subject, but, oh well."
Lover's quarrel... fights only lovers had.
Well, that probably settled it.
She placed her head on Tigron's chest again so that she could the see the sky. Oh yeah, Tigron deserved a nice compliment.
"By the way, Tigron, thanks for last night. It was very nice."
Was that a pause? "Oh... yeah. Heh, no problem. You too."
"No, really, it was good. Well, I haven't exactly had anything to compare it to, but it felt good, so that's a good sign, huh?"
Tigron, yes, was a good-looking beast, and chances were that he'd had plenty of fems hanging around. Which meant plenty of, er, experience. The only way she had resisted that face was because of that pesky self-imposed fake-yet-real-feeling-vendetta.
But, er, why was her new lover looking surprised?
"Whoa, wait a second. You think I had, uh you know, before?" She watched the other lieutenant scratch his head. "But I thought you were the one who had, uh, experience. I was going to thank /you/."
Ooh-kay. That explained it. Kind of humorous, though.
She let out a laugh. "Well, that was funny. Two virgins mistaking the other one to be the non-virgin." She laughed.
She felt Tigron shrug. "Well, it seemed appropriate, I guess. Has a nice romantic feel to it, too." There was a pause. "Wow, did I really just say that?"
"Yep to both comment and question, Tigron."
Might as well laugh along with the sand marten because, heck, it was funny.
And now seemed like a nice time for quiet. Hmm... Tigron's heartbeat was somehow a comforting feeling.
She felt some paws running over her body. She gave the other Wraith a look.
She saw Tigron shrug. "Well, we do have some time before the sun rises completely, and I was thinking, you know, last night we were kinda out of it with all the crying and emotional baggage. Um, so, if you want to..."
She snorted. Come on, Tigron. "Tigron, if you think I wouldn't, you're aren't half as smart as I think you are."
"Save me from my stupidity."
"I would if you had any."
She laughed, and she heard Tigron chortle too.
Well... now time for something... enticing. Ah, there was a good one.
She raised up her body and flopped it gently--more or less--onto the male's chest. Tigron was so handsome.
She knew she had a grin plastered on her face. "Now, let's put our minds to work for something creative, hmm?"

Wetness on his chest... what?
Tanth opened his eyes and looked down. Ah, not quite "down" since he was on his back, but towards his footpaws.
Veredia was crying very gently. What in seasons?
"Veredia, what's wrong?"
He saw the female look up into his eyes. "You, Tanth, that's what. Not exactly 'wrong,' but..."
What!? "What did--"
"You were mindful of me, that's what! I was thanking you/, but you made sure /I enjoyed it too! Tanth, what beasts do in bed says much about them. You didn't have to show me any consideration, considering the circumstances, yet you did, without any selfish motive to do so." He watched Veredia wipe away some tears. "You possess a very good heart, Tanth, so why are you in this horde?"
He felt himself bristle. "That's my business, Veredia."
He felt the weight leave his chest. Veredia was now sitting up and looking at him. And, yes, those tears were now gone.
"I would wager that you always say that. Please, I would like to know. It might be useful, no?"
Oh, this was going too far. He sat up. "I said--"
"I heard what you said," he heard the female snap. "I just think something is obscenely wrong when somebeast like you throws in his lot with Grimtooth." Veredia blinked, and he noticed that her voice had softened. "Sorry. I just want to know, Tanth. For my peace of mind."
He sighed. Fair enough. But first...
"Do you believe there is good in everybeast's soul, even Grimtooth's?"
Now he saw Veredia blink in what was certainly confusion. "No, of course not, not everybeast has good."
He nodded. "I think otherwise."
Ah, that had the foreseen effect. Verdia was speechless.
"Every time I recite this story to myself, the more outrageous it seems." He gave a sad sigh. "Oh, yes indeed.
When I was young, no more than thirteen seasons old, a friend of mine, an older stoat named Woodsnout, was having a bit of a... spat with another stoat family. It was something about trading prices. I'm an orphan, so I wandered a bit, staying with different families when they would take me in. This stoat family was my current host.
"In any case, I noticed that Woodsnout was getting more and more disgruntled, to the point that he actually told me he was going to attempt physical harm on the others. Of course, I would try my best to prevent it. I think Woodsnout had been cheated, but I didn't want bloodshed to come of it.
"I did my best to curb him, but he was relentless, I eventually grew frustrated and just left.
That same night, Woodsnout set fire to the cabin. I barely escaped, but the family..."
Damnation, it had been so /horrifying/. Fire-twisted skeletons, meat not nearly as charred as it should have been... the smell... He shook his head.
"I later found out that Woodsnout committed suicide after fleeing the relatives of the family he murdered. And then I joined Grimtooth."
He saw Veredia blink again. "I don't understand, Tanth. How does this explain why you accompany Grimtooth?"
He sighed again. "Don't you see, Veredia? If I had convinced Woodsnout to reconsider his actions, nobeast would have had to die. I stay with Grimtooth in order to save his soul, Veredia. This is a way to repay for my past failure."
Well, Veredia looked ready to ask a multitude of questions.
But the slave didn't. How strange.
"And when will you decide enough is enough, Tanth? Dark Forest, don't Grimtooth's actions even disturb you?"
Oh, of course they did... indeed. "Yes, most definitely, yes. Almost every order that he gives bothers me. Yet, I have yet to disobey or neglect any of those orders."
"Then how could you--"
"Because I must, or else this will haunt me forever."
That sounded harsh, the way it was said, with finality and bitterness. Seasons...
But... now why was Veredia nodding?
"Tanth, we each have our personal demons," the female wisped. "I... hope you can succeed."
The silence was perhaps the most fitting setting for this situation. No need to interrupt it with some potentially stupid comment.
Veredia fit herself into his old garments. A poor fit, yes, but was better than nothing. This was now a good time to fit into his own clothes. He glanced a look at Veredia.
Hellgates, the clothes hanging from that frame threw the other ferret's abused state into startling blatancy.
Veredia reached out. What? Oh, most likely for his paw. He put a paw out--the female's didn't retreat, so this wasn't a mistake--and squeezed Veredia's.
"Tanth. I... Thank you for everything, for taking care of me, and for... reminding me that what Grimtooth does to me is only a mockery of what should truly happen."
He let himself nod slowly. "And thank you for listening and lending me your encouragement." Oh, was this next a good choice? "Veredia?"
"If..." No, no... never think that! "When I can finally change Grimtooth... might there be a chance you and I...?"
He saw Veredia's eyes mist with moisture. He watched the ferret female set her jaw. "Tanth, we will cross that bridge when we come to it."
And then he watched Veredia leave his tent.
And go back towards Grimtooth's.

"If we keep up this pace we can reach Redwall in what, three and a half days?" Tigron heard Raezel ask.
That seemed about right. "Something like that. Unless we run into something."
He and the snow fox wandered through the forest. And, spiderspit, what a forest. There were so many types of damned /trees/. Geez, Pathfinders would have a field day devising ambushes in this place.
Of course, it could work both ways. The Dervaga could ambush /them/.
Well, he just had to keep himself alert, both physically and psionically, and it'd be all good. After all, a Dervaga would give a little mind-ping and--
Oh, drat.
Raezel obviously felt it too, since the snow fox also stopped and crouched, paws near Frost.
Fleacrap... irony again.
He knelt behind some underbrush, his back to a large oak, and yanked his hood over his head and pulled the cloak--thankfully with camouflage side out--tight around his body. He scanned the area, keeping the mechbow up.
Drat, now was the time he regretted not outfitting it with a scope. Argh.
Then he felt more signatures. A lot more. Holy fleacrap, it felt like at least ten dozen.
"/There/!" he felt Raezel mindspeak to him.
Where... oh, there.
Strange as heck, but fortunate. The beasts that had been detected weren't Dervaga, just regular beasts, thank Dark Forest. Hmm... Whoever they were, they were farking good scouts. They seemed to melt into the background.
But wait a second... there too few. They must be scouts for a larger force.
"/I think so, too/," Raezel mindspoke. Goody, the snow fox was reading minds again!
"They'/re good at what they do, at least/. /Heh/."
"Yep/. /But I think the average Pathfinder could show '/em a thing or two/."
He gave a little chuckle. "Maybe/. /They /look/ like /they/ know /what/ they'/re/ /doing/."
Ah, there! The main force was in view now. Hmm, impressive.
It looked like a tall, wiry stoat was leading them. Said stoat was clad in black tunic and trousers, the shirt having a marking of three white claws on it. The outfit was completed with a--big surprise--black cloak.
The stoat was definitely a big-shot, since there were at least five beasts no more than ten feet from him at all times. One guard was a female stoat, and by the way the boss sometimes talked to her, it looked like those two were... well, involved. Nice-looking stoat, definitely, with a body to match. It looked like the fem was limping ever so slightly, but the stoat could probably give Raezel a run for her money.
"/Hey/, /I heard that/!"
Uh-oh. That wasn't a good sign
"/Uh/, /look/, /I/--"
"Tigron/, /s/hut up/. No/, /I'/m not angry/. I'/m actually flattered that you compared me to her/. I/ think that stoat/'s good-looking/, /and I'/m as straight as your /sword."
Well, that was fortunate.
The horde continued walking past. Some beasts here and there, about, what, a dozen? had bars sewn onto their tunics. Some had two, while others only had one. Probably marks of rank.
It looked like whole lot of them was heading south, too, towards Mossflower and Redwall. That wasn't good. While the beasts didn't look near as good as a disciplined Templar company, they looked deadly enough. Yep, if those beasts wanted to get into Redwall, they probably could. It would probably be prudent to take a look at the leader's head. After all, the more intel, the easier it would be to fight these beasts if it came down to the dance.
Hmm... Okay.
The leader's name was Kiern, and his horde was a mercenary unit called the Nighthunt. There were... five separate units, the Nightfangs, the Nightarms, the Nightblood, the Nighteyes--goody, goody, the scouts--and the Nightfang personal guard. Oh, he'd been right, too! The stoat fem was a guard, and was also Kiern's mate. The unit was about the size of a standard Kavazaran company
Of course, with him, Raezel and--
"Captain! I think I saw something!" he heard a voice shout. "I'm not sure, but something's by the trees over there."
There. A rat was pointing... uh-oh.
"I think this is the time we run away," he muttered to the other lieutenant.
"Guess what? I sure as heck agree with you."
He concentrated his psychic power and let it run through his body.
Now, for the disappearing act...
He entered his wraith form and slipped /into/, and then /out through/, the oak. He sensed Raezel do the same.
Well, now the scouts were obviously spoofed... and that meant now was the perfect time to run /very quickly/.
Great, now he and Raezel were going to need to run to Redwall. Oh, perfect.

"Oh, perfect, they got away," Kiern heard Captain Dersa mutter darkly. "Even better, some of the Nighteyes tell me the two beasts became puffs of smoke that vanished into the tree."
"Ah, I think that's a sign the alcohol needs to be locked away," he heard Bladefall say airily.
"You may be right, Captain."
Hellsteeth, though, that two unidentified beasts had somehow escaped the notice, and then apprehension, of the Nighteyes. That should have been nigh impossible.
But it had been done.
He raised a paw.
"It's not a major issue. In any case, we should halt our march and make camp. No sense in pushing forward when something is prowling these woods."
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