Categories > Books > Redwall > Pride of Kavazara

Chapter 12: New Friends

by Forge 1 review

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: 2006-03-13 - Updated: 2006-03-14 - 4447 words

Gregory P. Wong

Chapter Twelve: New Friends

Oh, sure, "Tred do this/, Tred do /that/, Tred go jump/ off a cliff."
Oh, fark.
Tred grunted and pulled his cloak--much like that nifty camoflauge the Wraith's had, but one-sided only--tighter around his body and kept his mechbow steady as he stalked forward.
Sheez, not only a forward scout position, but it was solo, and his arse still hurt from that ugly bird's back. Damn, how did those bloody High Temps get used to that jouncing? What? Buns of steel?
Well, he'd been delivered to just outside Mossflower Woods--what kind of name was that?--after a few hours of hard riding--good thing those feathery pincushions could damned well run. Now, in the wee hours of morning, he was goin' a-hunting for threats.
Praetor Slydant had decided that somebeast needed to scout out ahead--alone--and yours truly was the lucky beasty to do it. Damn. And he didn't even have a damned wraithcomm, either. He had to report all this stuff in person.
But, it was a good decision, showing that Slydant wasn't a dumbarse. A single scout could move more quickly than a group could, and, by that same principle, get the heck out of trouble if it came up. And, though it was a Bad Thought To Think Of, one unlucky bastard buying it was a whole lot less expensive than a whole group of unlucky bastards buying it. And if some Dervaga sleepers--or, Hellgates forbid, Defiled Ones--decided to jump him, his arse was grass. Whoopee.
Well, he was one of the best Pathfinders, so this would be a farking cinch.
He slunk forward, making sure he blended in with the undergrowth. Damn, he'd have a field day devising ambushes in this tree-covered deathtrap.
Whoa! Flash of yellow where it shouldn't belong. Danger!
He crouched and saw a group of yellow-clad, mangy looking beasts walking perpendicular to him. Well, not quite. The way they were going, they might see him sooner or later.
Damn, that group was only five yards away. How the heck had he missed it!?
Ugh, everybeast had a bad day.
Okay, time to gather intel. The group was walking in a relatively organized fashion, which meant this wasn't some random bandit group. Looked like a part of some big-shot horde or something. Had to be, since that yellow looked like some type of uniform-color.
Well, if he was lucky--
"Wot the... Wot's that?" he heard a beast cry.
Well, scratch the luck. The gig was up. Time to move.
And then he saw a spear slam into the tree behind him.
Oooh-kay, a nice, peaceful retreat was out of the question. Damn.
He rose, sighted a weasel's face in his sights, and jerked the trigger. The mechbow /twanged/, and Target Number One was dead. And, goody, now it was a target-rich environment. Meaning he was farking surrounded.
He pumped the slide and whirled, planting another bolt into a rat's throat. Pump again, and another rat gurgled and fell. Pump, stoat dead. Pump, fox dead. And--
Spiderspit! He dropped his mechbow as a beast that was way too close tried to stick him with a sword. Bastard. He slid his hunting knife from the sheath at his waist, sidestepped, and slashed the throat of the rat from one end to the next. Score.
"Capture him! He nearly took Mudtail's head clean off!"
Well, he was no Wraith, but he was sure as Hellgates no slouch with a knife.
He sank back into the underbrush. Good thing this stuff was thick, eh?
He leaped out of the brush, and, goody, there was a ferret with a saber.
Said ferret dropped said saber after he stabbed it in the right kidney.
And another one bites the dust...
"There he is!"
Oh, fleacrap. Dummies would never learn, would they? Farking little--
And then something... pain in his head.
And then nothing.

Ooh... that was gonna leave a mark.
Tred opened his eyes.
Okay, what was up. He'd been hit in the back of the head... sure, that sounded right. And now his arms were tied to some pole jutting from the ground. At least he was sitting down. Bleh, classic SNAFU.
In front was an ugly--damn, those were big warts!--dim-looking weasel and a smarter looking--ooh, big accomplishment!--incredibly fat fox. Looked like guards, bad ones too, but appearances could deceive. Rule number one of Tred's Laws of Drunk'N'Stupid Tavern Brawls. No, wait, that was number two. Number one was "Always keep something hard close at paw."
Hmm... he heard more breathing.
Righto, on his right was a... oh, hot /damn/.
A really cute mouse, asleep.
Weird looking mouse, though. Long legs, nice and fit. Small, compact build. Really nice sand-colored fur. A long tail with this cute little tuft at the end. Black, form-fitting clothing of some sort that covered everything from the ankles up except the arms and head. And a face that... hmm... wasn't quite "beautiful," but definitely cute and attractive.
"Hey, yew!"
What now? "Yeah?"
It was Tubby talking. "Yew up and killed a bunch of our beasts. Nows, our boss, Grimtooth, wants ta know who yew are an' wot yew want before he kills yew."
Oh, come on.
"Sure. Go tell your 'Grimtooth' that he can suck a fat long one. And you can zip it too, Tubby."
Tubby knelt, and yep, the fox looked incredibly pissed. Perfect.
"Hey, I coulds kill yew right--"
"Yeah, yeah, yeah, I get the picture. How about you get the heck out of my face before I take your knife and buttfark you with it?"
Meh, now the knife was out. "Yew liddle--"
"Yeah, I know I'm 'liddle'. But, hey everybeast must be little to you. How many months pregnant are you?"
Heh, this was fun. "Ah, maybe you didn't hear me. Never mind. How about this? You put away that knife, and I'll promise not to R-Y-N-O."
"Wot does--"
"It means 'rip you a new one.' As in a new orifice."
Now Tubby looked downright confused.
"Yep, as in another hole in your body. I'd give you a new arsehole, since you look like you needed something extra to get rid of all the crud floating around your stomach. Want it?"
"No, yew listen ta--"
"Nah, you listen to me, chief. Shut up and go on an air-only diet for a decade or two. Could help the girth a bit."
"Hey, mebbe yew should stop talkin' ta the rat," he heard weasel suggest. Wow! The thing really could talk!
"Hey, sounds like a plan. But I don't think it's gonna work. The hungry bastard probably wants to eat me."
And now Pebble-face the wart-covered weasel was laughing. And yes, it was a farking a/huh ahuh ahuh/ laugh that only stupid beasts in jokes made. Well, not just jokes, since this weasel was alive... but this was ridiculous
"Whoa, there, you can shut /up/ now. See, Pebble-face, the way I see it, if I was as ugly as you were, I'd try to make up for it with some type of personality. But, you know, I've met farking trees that were more interesting than your arse, so it looks like you're piss out of luck, buddy."
Now, in addition to looking really stupid, the weasel looked mad. That was easy. Pebble-face waved a club at him.
He let his face light up with joy. "Oh, make my day! C'mon, me and you, right now. Even tied up and stuff I know I could kick your arse."
Pebble-face suddenly looked scared. He watched the weasel whisper something into the other guard's ear. He grinned when the two guards walked and sat about thirty feet away.
What a bunch of losers. He felt like terminating them--with extraordinarily extreme prejudice--just for being such a drain on the air everybeast breathed. Seriously now, how FUBAR was this?
"You are very clever with words," he heard a voice say. Ah, it came from the right... the mouse. Kind of a nice voice. A bit of an accent somewhere, but a very feminine voice. "What is your name?
"The name's Tred, mousey. And thanks, it takes skills to slap insults together like that. How about you? What's your name?"
"My name is Keruki." Pause. "Is it the customary here to refer to females as 'mousey?'"
Uh... "Hey, Keruki. Well, not really. It's more of my custom, honey." Pause. Hey, wait a second... "You're not from around here, are you? Most fems would be either smiling or slapping me for calling them 'honey.'"
"Keruki" gave a little smile. "Ah, that is most interesting. For your question, no I am not of this continent. I immigrated here from the eastern islands with my family."
Ah-hah! That was the accent. Okay, okay, Captain Blindsight's wasn't as noticeable, but it was there.
Well, time for small talk, followed by little approaches. Who knew, maybe if he and the mousey could get away, he might just have a new femmyfriend.
Wow, he was tied up in a hostile camp, and he was thinking about that/!? Damn, he /so needed to get laid. Fleacrap, this beast was probably too young for him anyway.
"Hey, that's neat. So, tell me, mousey, are all the fems from those islands as hot as you are?"
He watched Keruki frown. "The females back east suffer from no overheating, and neither do I."
Oops, foreigner, remember? "My bad. When I say 'hot' I meant 'beautiful.'"
Damn, a little too bold there. Keruki was now reddening. "You honor me, Tred. Thank you."
Wait... score!
Waitasecond. He was here tied up in who-knew-where, and he was talking up some strange mouse from somewhere? Sheesh, he'd better get down to business.
"Uh, no problem. Hey, Keruki, if you don't mind my asking, what type of mouse are you? I've never seen your type before."
He noticed Keruki's blush was already fading, replaced with a nice smile. "I am no mouse, Tred. I am a kangaroo rat."
Ooh-kay... a rat. Small, for sure, but then again... "I know what a rat is, obviously, but what's a kangaroo?"
"I am not sure. My family was itself an emigrant from islands south of my birthplace. From what my grandparents told me before they passed, kangaroos are large beasts that can leap incredible distances. From what I have been told, kangaroos have long legs, like my kind."
Long legs... yeah... Very long, very nice legs. Mmm...
Yech... mind /out of there/!
"Okay." Damn, he had to ask this question. "Can I still call you mousey?"
"It is allowable. In fact, I find it a bit comforting."
Cool. Back to intelligence-gathering.
"Have you seen how many there are?" He gestured to the milling hordebeasts.
"Some. I have not seen much, but I can estimate at least tenscore beasts are in this horde."
Okay, that was good info. "How about their... skills. The ones I bumped off seemed to be pretty bad warriors."
"I will have to agree; they do seem to lack skill."
But that left a question...
"Now, er, how'd they get you."
He watched the kangaroo rat's face darken. "Have you ever had a day where nothing seems to go as it should?"
"Tell me about it. I'm having one today."
"Was that first another of your expressions?"
Ugh. "Yeah."
The mousey nodded. "Several days ago, my parents passed away from old age, and my training is incomplete. I took what possessions I had and moved up away from the coast.
"In short, my current emotional state and deprivation of my parents drained away my energy, and I was an easy target."
"Whoa, wait up. 'Training?' 'Energy?'"
"Yes, Tred. Though you have most likely not heard of us, my parents were training me in the ways of the Unseen. When they passed, the shock knocked my own honed powers out of sync. Though I am not yet fully trained, I should be able to break free in the near future."
Well, that was a surprise. "Well, Keruki, believe it or not, I do know what an Unseen is. I've seen one, actually," he admitted.
The fem's face lit up. "Oh, what fortune! Please, tell me, was this Unseen a black stoat with a blindfold?"
Wow, what a coincidence. "Yep, sure did."
Now Keruki looked positively overjoyed. "Oh, it is Blindsight! Please, you must tell me: do you have any idea where this Unseen is as of now?"
Heh. "Well, mousey, you might not believe this, but..."

"I just can'/t/ believe this," Raezel said to nobeast in particular.
"I totally agree," Tigron replied.
Yep, this was a skee-rewed up situation. She and Tigron had managed to get to Redwall in what just had to be record time, but somebeasts had beat them to it.
Cripes, all that running for nothing. Damn.
She crouched in the undergrowth near the path north of the abbey. Which was currently crawling with beasts in yellow.
Grimtooth's bastards. Oh, life was such a--
"Hey, Raezel, I think it'd be a good idea if we could get into Redwall. As much as I'd like to take Grimtooth's head for a wall decoration, our priority is to get to Redwall, after all."
Heck, she wanted that particular decor... well, somebeast would get it. But, true, Redwall was top on the list. But...
"Uh, sounds good and all, but the execution might be a tad hard. I don't know if those abbeybeasts want to open up those gates anymore. How're we gonna get in there?"
She saw Tigron looked reflective for a moment. Well, for being her lover and all, the sand marten still liked to think in a quite place all the time. It was still weird, but it was kinda... cute.
Sort of. This was really affecting her badly, wasn't it? Sandscratcher turned lover. Geez.
It was a nice feeling.
Okay, okay, time to quit. Duty was at paw.
"I'm not sure. You have any ideas?"
Oh, this was almost too good. "Do my ears deceive me? Tigron Sandstar is asking the hyperactive iceblinker for advice?"
"Eee-zactly," she heard Tigron reply, and she sure as heck saw that wink.
Well, okay, adapt. "We could just try a mad dash for the door and hold off Grimtooth's beasts until somebeast opens the door." Hmm... "After all, we're /Wraiths/, and they're /not/. Piece of cake."
Well, no surprise, Tigron was looking distant again, off in the world-of-battle-plans.
"Hmm..." she heard the other lieutenant say, "that might work. Maybe we'll just bypass the please-open-the-door-pretty-please part and go straight through the gate in Wraith form." Tigron winked.
She cocked an eyebrow. Wow, was Tigron actually being a tad... reckless?
Well, more than one beast was getting affected by this relationship.
But now it was time for action. Oh, heck yeah.
She drew the two parts of Frost from behind her back and snapped them together.
Here they go...

Goodness, was being in a relationship with Raezel really doing this to him? Damn, it was. He'd just suggested diving through a heavy wooden gate! In Wraith form! While the area was not secured!
And Raezel had actually taken the time to come up with a plan.
Drat. Well, he could learn to live with it. He had to.
Not that it was entirely bad, but...
Argh. Distractions, distractions.
"Go for it. I'll hang back for a few seconds and cause some chaos." He patted his mechbow. "Good?"
"Sounds cool. When we make our break?"
He saw Raezel give a wide grin and shoot from cover, dashing towards Redwall's, uh, walls.
Time to stir up some trouble.
He raised his mechbow, sighted a weasel--who looked simply dumb with puzzlement--and sent a bolt into the hordebeast's head.
Pump, and another one, a fox, took it through the right eye. Damn, way off center. Oh, well.
Anyways, that was good enough. The combination of a vixen running straight through them--taking out anybeast stupid enough to stand in her way, of course--and small bolts that seem to be coming from somewhere was playing with their minds.
Good, Raezel was almost there. He watched the vixen flick aside a rat that was in the way. Then Raezel entered wraith form, becoming a fox-shaped thing of red smoke, and dived through the gate.
Time to move.

Raezel went back to normal form as soon as she felt the door behind her. She rolled, letting her dive--plus a little acrobatic twist--put her back on her footpaws.
She looked around.
Uh... okay. A mouse with a large paw-and-a-half sword, another with a saber, a rabbit--hare?--and a older otter were staring at her. They looked like they had been talking. Cripes.
"How did--?" she heard the otter gabble.
But then the male mouse was trying to take her head off.
Uh, really. Her normal fighting stance had her sickle staff in her right paw, with her right side canted away from her opponent. She swept Frost up and blocked the sword with a sickle. The mouse withdrew the sword and tried for a sweep that would take off her legs. She danced over it with a rolling jump.
Well, definitely not as fast as a Wraith, but that mouse sure as Hellgates knew how to use that sword. Damn, if--Yah!
Now the three others were in on it too. Oh, dandy. And they were surrounding her.
She quickly unwrapped the blanket and gear from around her shoulders, just in time to...
Stab from a saber... block it. Swipe from a sword... dodge. Thrust from a javelin... whoa, that was close. Another saber slash... ha-ha, parried away.
But, seriously, this wasn't good at all. She was at a serious disadvantage, since killing these beasts would be bad/. Which meant she had to disarm them... which was no walk in--dodge that spear!--the park, since they were all farking /good with--ahh, saber! Block!--their weapons. Sheez, she could have put them all away in a second or two, but here she was, trying to farking disarm them.
If Tigron didn't come soon, like now/, she saw /sooo going to kill him.

"/Nice of you to show up/," Tigron heard Raezel huff in his mind as he came through the gate. She sounded really mad. Actually, pissed.
"No/, /I'/m spitting mad/. How '/bout helping me/!?"
"Uh, yeah," he said out loud. He dropped the mechbow, drew Dawn, and placed his left paw on Dusk.
He saw the male mouse look at him and say... something that he'd never think a beast from an abbey would say. Not a bad curse, though. Pretty creative. But it was inaccurate. He did know who his father was and--
"Leena, help me take the new one!" the mouse grunted. The mouse charged him, along with a female mouse.
He intercepted "Leena's" saber stab and--damn! He arched his back and let the slash from the male pass over his face. He saw the female make a go for his legs. His back still arched backwards, he fell backwards onto his paws, and, with a spring, got back to his footpaws.
Ah, /great/.
He met a slash from the male's sword and parried it in a circle to the left. Ahh... he twisted his body, and the saber from the female slammed into Dusk, on his back. With a whirl to his right he batted the saber down.
Now the male was stabbing at his heart. He angled Dawn towards the ground and blocked, then followed that up by whirling and intercepting the cut from the saber. He lifted his left footpaw to keep it from getting lopped off by the paw-and-a-half sword. Then he had to intercept the saber with Dusk's shaft. He detached his scythe from his carrier and hooked the saber with the blade.
Hah! Opportunity!
He whirled again and levered the saber into the ground. Then he stuck the point of Dawn into the female's face
"Stop, or she dies!" he yelled.
Drat, that sounded callous. But this fight was getting real old, real fast.
The mouse had backed away, and, Hellgates, that beast was damned shivering with fury.
Okay, time for diplomatics. Hoorah.
"If you don't mind putting your weapons up... we're friends."

He couldn't defend her... and now the mousemaid was in the paws of a vermin.
Wallace looked behind him. Danforth was also in danger, a sickle at the hare's throat. Who would have expected that vixen's weapon could be split in half?
And now the marten had the audacity to make such a claim!?
"Friends, is it?" he growled. "You invade our abbey and threaten her life, and you expect us to believe you?"
"Uh, well, you did attack me first. Self-defense, y'know?" he heard the vixen say from behind him. "And, spiderspit, quit worrying, Wallace. Tigron has as much intention to cut her throat as you would. Which means nil, right?"
How did that vixen know his name? "And you expect me to humor your--"
"Oh, Hellgates... Fine, you win!" the vermin said exasperatedly.
He saw the beast take the sword from Leena's face and sheath it. Then the scythe was brought up, expertly whirled, and placed on the marten's back.
What in the world...?
"See? We don't want to hurt you. Like Raezel just said, it was just self-defense. Okay, sure, diving through your gate wasn't exactly a friendly gesture, but in case you didn't know, you have plenty of unwanted visitors. Weapons up, please?"
He took a closer look at "Tigron." Tall, brown-furred, brown-eyed, clad in strange looking armor, and, though he didn't care to admit it, handsome as vermin went. But, strangely, there was something different about this particular vermin.
"Though I doubt it's wise to take the word of a vermin... I'll agree." Goodness, this had better not be a horrible mistake.
He slid the sword of Martin the Warrior into his back sheath, and looked behind him. Winopal planted her javelin into the ground. The white vixen had already put her weapon away--under the cloak?--and Danfroth was sliding his saber back into its sheath. He noticed Leena was looking slightly disappointed with the decision, but the saber was put away, as well.
"Now it's my turn, vermin. Why are you here?"
The marten scratched his head. "Well... okay, I can say. But if you want the whole story... well, I hope you have an hour or two. Maybe three."

And that was that. Raezel had let Tigron most of the story-telling, but she did put some helpful comments here and there.
"'Kavazara,' is it?" asked the bank vole, Audrin. "From over the western sea?"
"Yep, sir," she answered before Tigron could peep. "Though we've been settled here for about two hundred seasons. Lord Longspear is the first native-born Bladestone lord."
"I find this is so... mind-boggling!" she heard the abbess--Vivan, right?--exclaim. Fleacrap, the poor mouse looked like she was gonna have a heart attack. But, well, news of Dervaga did tend to do that. And that didn't count Grimtooth and his horde of uglies. Cripes.
"In any case, ma'am, Lord Longspear and Lady Galecut felt that there was dire need. We wouldn't be here if there wasn't." Tigron explained.
The mouse called Wallace gave a loud sigh. "To think, Leena and I only narrowly escaped being attacked by 'Dervaga.' Those beasts are true monsters."
Her turn. "Yeah, they sure are. Of course, that could be because they're not entirely natural... but, if I can so, that was no easy job, to take on five Dervaga sleeper scouts. Those things are tough. Of course, no sweat for Wraiths, but I just hope no Defiled Ones made it through. That could be really /ugly/."
"'Defiled Ones'? I sure don't like the sound of that," she heard the hare say. Danforth Bouncefoot Fangleton Townes... what the fark name was that!? Well, whatever. Sure wasn't a slouch with the saber. "What're those things?"
"Bigger, stronger Dervaga. In other words, a total nightmare. A bunch of them could give a Wraith trouble."
"Ugh," spat Wallace. "I still have difficulty believing how these things exist."
"Yeah," she muttered. "But trust me, those things are bad news, hard to believe it or not."
"True, true," sighed Wallace. Then she saw the mouse take a deep breath. "Despite the dangers of these 'Dervaga', our current concern is Grimtooth and his horde. We must drive them away."
"Yeah, we know," she heard Tigron say tiredly, "we're going to need some plans, huh?"
"Oh, definitely," she said.

Dervaga... cursed beasts.
What every Kavazaran knew about the Dervaga had come from decades of fighting them.
Item one: Beasts did possess souls. When a beast died, that soul was either transported to the fields and pastures--so it was assumed, at any rate--of Dark Forest. Others were given up to the eternal fire and pain of Hellgates.
Item two: Somehow, some beast had discovered a way to escape the "domain" of Hellgates.
Item three: This individual used the very damned creatures wandering Hellgates as soldiers.
The Dervaga were the evil-filled souls of beasts sentenced to Hellgates. It was hypothesized that when a new Dervaga was "harvested" it was given a corrupted form of its old body. The "new" body was easily a quarter larger than the original.
Utterly subservient to the master's wishes, the Dervaga were stronger, faster, and more resilient to damage than average beasts. Though they were somewhat lacking in intelligence, it did not take much brains to hack apart an enemy.
The "regular" Dervaga were beasts who had known and done naught but evil while they were living. However, Dervaga Defiled Ones were another story entirely.
Defiled Ones were beasts who had once been good beasts, but had chosen evil before their death. As the saying goes, the worst thing is when a good thing goes bad.
Defiled Ones were half again as big as their former selves, and actually in possession of intelligence. They were the elite troops of the Dervaga Lord, and in large enough groups could successfully challenge and defeat a fully trained Kavazaran Wraith.
And, despite the perceptions of Mossflower beasts, Dervaga were not entirely "vermin." Just as many evil mice fought mindlessly along with rats and ferrets.
And, of course, the Dervaga Lord even had a paw in directly crafting some beasts for special purposes. Several of these special beasts were marching with a horde numbering over one hundred thousand.
Towards one final confrontation with Kavazara's Bladestone Castle.
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