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 on: Today at 11:19:04 PM 
Started by Ashleg - Last post by Campanella
Although it takes out a lot of the plot, I adore it mostly for the art. There's some really awesome panels!
Speaking of other redwall books, the cookbook has amazing art too; its considerably softer and more cutesy.

 on: Today at 11:11:18 PM 
Started by Campanella - Last post by Campanella
Hi friends. Been a while since I posted here so please have this lil phone doodle

The comic is slooowly being worked on

 on: Today at 09:14:02 PM 
Started by Icefire - Last post by Jukka the Sling
I'm actually seeing The Last Jedi tomorrow morning!  Thank goodness for unexpectedly cheap tickets (maybe because it was the first showing of the day?) and the waiving of online booking fees.

 on: Today at 08:30:39 PM 
Started by Ashleg - Last post by The Skarzs

 on: Today at 07:16:35 PM 
Started by Ashleg - Last post by Jukka the Sling
I've never seen Star Wars and don't really care!

 on: Today at 06:43:35 PM 
Started by The Grey Coincidence - Last post by The Grey Coincidence
Fret felt like a vegetable. Frozen in his choice. He went to bed, sore and tired and in want of sleep, and when he woke he begged for sleep, but his tears were the only ones who heard him. He was vermin. The simple fact made his heart burn and fresh tears well up. He was vermin. No matter what, he was vermin. That was all he'd ever be. No matter what he did.

The Honest Bunch probably thought him a weakling no doubt. Always crying and wallowing in misery. But nobeast understood him. He was different. Too different. Neither abbeybeast, nor vermin could ever call him one of them. And that was the root of his tears. Alone. He'd always be alone. Sad and alone. He was crying again.

"Fret." It was Grey. The rat approached cautiously.

"Go away!" Fret snapped instinctively. He needed a sign. An answer to the question that plagued his mind. What should he do?

"Frettie... Why are you crying?" The rat swallowed cautiously. He didn't want to open a wound.

"Because everybeast hates me!" Fret responded. It was half a whine, half a snap. He did not know why, but he opened himself to the rat. "I didn't do anything rotten, but I've always been vermin to them. Now you've gone and kidnapped them, and I can't go back home. Else I'd just be vermin!"

"Frettie... Mayhaps you ought to consider joining us-hold yer paw... Just look. I mean... Mayhaps you'll miss those in the abbey, but you'll have me and Sharpfur with you. And the others. And your friends, well the captain's got to decide what to do with them, not us, but don't fret, captain's nice. She don't actually skin beasts, just says she will. She might even let you all go back."

"And I'll go back to being hated Grey. I don't belong in Redwall, Grey, I don't belong with you."

"Then where do you belong?"

"I don't know!" Fret whined. "Nowhere. Alone." The ferret shrugged. "I don't even know."

"Sometimes I feel like I don't belong here." Grey Claw confessed. "I can't fight as good as Threeclaw, I'm not scary like Deathglare, I'm not smart like Sharpfur, I'm not cruel. I can't tell stories, wrap bandages. I eat too much, I'm too kind. I don't fit in either Frettie... But they keep me. They laugh at me, with me, pat my stomach, gimme food. They love me...But I'm different. Just... Try to...not cry a bit. We mean what we say here... Just try to... Jump right in..." He finished lamely, twidling his thumbclaws.

Those words and Sharpfur's own buried into Fret's mind. Indeed, they pushed him to his resolve.

Her name was Thornflame, and right now she had a headache like no other. The black rat was tall, and sinewy, lightly armed with cutlass and dagger. His message had been written in blood, whose she didn't know nor cared, but the crimson writing sent shivers down her spine-not that she let him notice.

"Longclaw, King of the Frozen North, demands our presence for his coronation?"

The rat was impassive, and drew his dagger.

Any other member of her crew would have reached for a weapon, but she was not so easily frightened. The rat stabbed at the table, scratching a simple answer into it. 'Yes.'

A mute... Naturally. "Is there anybeast on your boat that still has a tongue to use?" She growled.

The rat scratched another word into the table. 'No.'

She felt another shiver coming, but hid it well. "And if I refuse?"

No word was needed to explain the simple truth. The rat moved the dagger along his throat. She grimaced.

"I will give my answer in a moment. I have my officers to discuss this with." The black rat bowed, and left, leaving the dagger on the table. A moment later Gulash, Threeclaw and Deathglare walked in.

Gulash was the oldest in her crew, a large rat, almost as silent as the beast that had just left. Foul-tempered, angry, yet he had once strangled a badger bare-pawed-or so he claimed. Threeclaw was the best fighter, a sellsword of some notoriety that stayed with them for the fun of it. He had the annoying habit of making up words to use. Deathglare was not a fighter, but his mind worked quicker than anybeast. His voice was low and soft, almost a whisper, so whenever he spoke, the room was silenced.

The albino stoat was humming to himself as he read the letter. "Forgive me, Capetan, but nobeast has ever cqlled himself King of the Frozen North."

Deathglare frowned very slightly. "It's a trap. Anybeast can see that."

"If I refuse them, then we fight now, against a ship full of mutes." Thornflame rubbed her temple.

"Ah, that is excellent! Having no tongue, means they can't plead for mercy." The ferretmaid was not sure if he was joking or not.

"If you accept you follow them into a cave, with larger numbers and greater odds against us. What King would want anything to do with us anyhow?"

"Exactly, we aren't a threat to him. He has no reason to harm us. And mayhaps all he wants is to mark his teritory." She shot up, determined to speak her mind.

"It is colder up there. Moreso now than afore. We can't travel. We have young to look after and raise. We have food aplenty."

"What would you have me do?" She snapped.

"Flee. Turn tails, travel south. To someplace warmer." Deathglare advised.

"Scared?" Threeclaw sneered.

"Very. Who slices the tongue of a loyal crew, I ask you? Not a petty sellsword, he who does this can call himself king, and it wouldn't be a lie."

"So we must flee? And the rats? What becomes of them?" Maybe it was the truth of his words, or the way he said them that made her shiver.

"Slay them. Flay them. Steal their ship at night. It makes little difference. But we cannot go north."

Gulash grunted in agreement, and Thornflame grimaced. "We'll go south then. Make sure the rats are dealt with. We'll need their ship." The smile she gave was evil.

Bella rubbed her forehead, and itched at her muzzle. It was snowing hard and fast outside. And the news made her ill. All Gone... All the young un's of the abbey were missing. Fret had vanished first, and his disappearance had broken Constance and Connington... But now...

The one eyed captain of the Long Patrol's son had gone, as had the Log-a-log's. The foremole's daughter, Blind Agatha's youngest child, Rosebrush's only child, Hawthorn the eldest of two, Grollo the cook's son. It made her chest heavy, and breathing hard. Abbot Martin had fainted at the news. All his students had vanished.

The Long Patrol wanted to leave the abbey, but the snow had piled thick and heavy, and the doors would not open. The hares had naturally made a third option and their ome-eyed captain had taken a team of his best, and climbed down the walls with ropes. Now those still within the abbey were left to worry.

And then the tales poured out of panicked beasts. First a ferret had vanished, then the others. Had the ferret done something wicked?

Bella could not blame them for their suspicions. The young ferret had always been unfriendly, but she could not imagine him harming anybeast... At least not til he was older. Then it didn't take much imagination.

She had to be fair. For the sake of all beasts. The crowd before her were scared and thick with worry. She raised a paw for silence.

"Our young'uns vanished all at once. Mayhaps they are merely locked out by the same snow that locks us in, and are out there in Mossflower, awaiting our rescue. In that case you have nothing to fear. If they ventured further they may have found shelter, Either way we shan't know until it stops snowing. Then we will venture out and find them, and bring them back, unless the Long Patrol has beaten us to it!"

And if they are perished? The last thought was left unsaid.

"I know in mine heart, as you should in turn, that no harm has befallen any of them." Her words lifted the cloud of worry off of everyone... Except herself.

Thornflame was surrounded. Their were maybe twenty rats in all, but none wore armour, and judging from their relaxed postures they weren't expecting a battle. Their captives were in Sick-Eye's tent along with the younger vermin. Gulash stood beside her, leaning on his axe. Threeclaw was in front. Deathglare was no fighter and scared of blood, he had volunteered to secure the ship.

"Your King is no King of ours!" She declared loudly, beaming.

The tall rat's glare made the smile on the ferretmaid's lips impossible to believe. The rat freed a dagger, and sliced open his own paw, letting the drops fall like rain into the snow. It was an act of war.

Gulash's axe freed the rat's head of his body, and scattered more blood into the snow. The headless corpse twitched madly and fell back, spraying the ground crimson. The other rats were a minute too slow on the uptake, and a minute was all Threeclaw needed to put a rapier through one, and a dagger into the other. Thornflame ducked as one rat made a mad lurch towards her, swung too high and died gurgling on the blood that spilled from his throat. She stole his dagger and threw it at another rat, killing him instantly. Threeclaw's paws were a blur as he danced through the black wave, making blood fly in a gruesome spectacle. Gulash knocked one rat aside, and cleaved another in two. Sickletail parried a blade that had almost slverminornflame in two. Heartrip, another weasel, was not fast enough to block a cutlass, which sliced into her shoulder. If not for her tough bones, and Sickletail's knife slicing into the rat's tail, she's have lost an arm. Heartrip finished him off with teeth and fang, biting into the rodent's throat and tearing out his windpipe.

The remaining mutes scattered and fled into the trees. Threeclaw felled one with a dagger, but his next one missed by an inch, and the rats made good their escape. Thornflame smirked at Heartrip, the younger weasel freed the saber from her shoulder. She was feint from all the blood, and gore speckled her muzzle, but she had slain a rat.

"Get that tended to. Sick-Eyes will be with the captives. Deathglare, the ship is ours?"

The pine marten didn't even try to smile, he merely nodded as if his neck was stiff. "Speaking of the captives, what shall we do with them?"

Fret made his move the moment he noticed the oncoming battle. With nearly the entire Honest Bunch busy, they stood a chance at escape. He burst into Sick-Eye's tent and stared directly at the seer, he let panic creep into his voice.

"It's Sickletail! She's bleeding out! I dunno what happe-"

"What?!" Sharpfur was the first one out, dirk drawn, moving with remarkable speed. Even vermin loved their mothers after all. Sick-Eyes followed in a bit less haste.

"Is she alright?" Grey Claw asked, so quietly Fret almost didn't register it.

"I think she's dying." Fret said flatly.

Grey Claw burst out, sobbing, and left the tent.

Fret held back a laugh, the fools had taken it in. Hook, line and sinker. Now he had something important to do.

"It would be such a pity if she died." Momchillo commented dryly.

Fret almost cowered from all their collective glares. "L-look... I-"

"Chumming up with your vermin, are you?" The hated mouse responded.

"No!" Fret snapped. His resolve was weakening at every moment. He had convinced himself that Constance would believe him, no matter what the others said. And the others would know he was friends with them if he freed them, right? He couldn't snap. He wasn't meant to. He just had to convey what had happened. "I fell off Redwall-"

"And got saved by your new mates, huh?"

"No! I was out cold! I didn't ask to be rescued. I was going to come back-"

"To steal us at a later date. What have I ever done to you?" Momchillo barked, and Fret hated him. So much pain would have been avoided, if only the one, angry mouseling could have held his tongue.

"I'm not vermin!" Fret snapped. "I came here to-"

"Join your crew! Did you 'jump right in?'"

"Let me speak!" Fret half screeched, half pleaded. They needed to know he was not vermin. That he was helping them.

"I don't need the words of a liar and a traitor to befoul my ears! You sold us out! We grew up together you black-"

Fret reached for a knife. Action spoke louder than words, right? If he could cut the rope then maybe they would understand. He raised the knife.

"Fret, please!" Matiya screamed. Hawthorn shrieked 'NO!', Jack struggled madly, Tibbers whimpered, and Threeclaw deftly disarmed the ferret.

Instinctively Fret backed away. "I-I-I".

"You. You. You will be telling me what you intended to do with the knife. Cut him, or the rope? Come now amigo, don't lie to me." The stoat's rapier was at his throat, and Fret took another step back.

He had seconds to work. He could tell the truth and get scewered alive and die knowing the others knew he had died a goodbeast. Or he could lie and grovel for mercy. He chose the latter.

"I wanted to kill him!" Fret said, so suddenly it came out as yet another snap. "I was going to kill him... For all the wrong he's done to me. I hate him!"

Fleetfoot One-Eye was not the strongest, nor fastest, nor did he have the most experience. The one thing he had to truly brag about was his hearing, and it was not difficult to hear the yelling coming from an otherwise invisible tent of snow. Further away a small battle was taking place, but it was between some ferrets, weasels and so forth, against a band of black rats. He nodded at his hares.

"Stay here chaps. I will return swiftly." The other hares nodded.

Captain Fleetfoot was as silent as death as he crept through the snow, leaving barely a track in the snow. Silence was his ally. The yelling was continuing, but there were more voices, and panicked ones at that. Then a soft voice he recognized vaguely. Then a response. He caught the last words only. "I hate him!" Entranced by the voice, the crunch of snow beneath his foot was audible.

"Go to hell traitor!"

"Shut it mouse! I heard something." Then the voice he vaguely recognized, and a face he loathed, climbed out of the tent.

Threeclaw and One-Eye took one moment to register each other. Then, as one, they raised their voices.



And their steel moved as if on their own. The stoat blocked the saber with both his blades, and swung at once from two angles. One Eye saw the vermin coming at him. They were outnumbered.

To Fret's misfortune the young ferret had stumbled backwards, out of the tent. Captain Fleetfoot swung recklessly, and Threeclaw was forced to step backwards. Then the hare caught Fret by the scruff of the neck, and pressed his blade against the ferret's throat, just as the other vermin and hares showed up.

"One move!" It was an old trick, yet one that seldom worked on vermin. Yet Threeclaw fidgeted madly on his feet. Evidently his old adversary had a small scrap of honor. "Are the young'uns in the tent?"

"Oui." The stoat said, still fidgeting madly.

"Lumber, set them loose." The other hare obeyed swiftly, but found his way barred by a large rat with a poleaxe.

"Long Patrol? And what quarrel have you with us?" To Threeclaw's relief Thornflame was there now. To take command of the crew.

"Not quarrel. Just our babes. You'll excuse the whole hostage thing, wot, but we're to bring our young back home. I'm sure they enjoyed their visit, but alas, supper is almost upon us."

"Ah." The ferret eyed Fret with a smile that radiated cruelty. "I'm sure the abbybeast you're holding is so excited for the prospect of supper." Her smile widened at the hare's faces. "Oh, you don't know." She grinned widely. "Or am I lying?"

The Honest Bunch broke into laughter. And it was in that moment that Captain Fleetfoot made his move. He threw Fret behind him, with enough force to knock the wind out of him, and swung at the ferretmaid. Threeclaw parried the attack and then battle was upon them all.

"Death, Gulash, get the prisoners! And get to the ship!"

Fret landed hard on his back, wheezing for air. His world spun and him with it as he frantically climbed. Flee for the boat or Redwall? The boat or Redwall?

"Frettie!" Sharpfur was squeezing through the battle, narrowly avoiding death from every angle. "We need to move! Captain's orders!"

Fret was dizzy. "Captain?"

"Thornflame, now c'mon. We need to move!"

Redwall, or the boat? Redwall or the boat? The hare had thrown him aside, and the vermin was helping him up.

"We?" He needed an answer, but couldn't think of one.

"Come on!" Sharpfur yelled, clearly desperate to leave.

Goodbye momma. Fret bit back tears, and took the weasel's paw.

 on: Today at 06:40:15 PM 
Started by The Grey Coincidence - Last post by The Grey Coincidence
"We're the Honest Bunch, A crew, not a horde! Welcome aboard! Honesty's not our best policy, but we'll stand beside ye! It's what we do! So join us, why don't ye? It's fun and games til someone kills ye! Come on matey, take a swig, take a swing and fall right in!"

Despite the band of vermin's loud, cheerful song, Fret could only feel a pressure in his chest that would not leave. As if a giant was holding him tight and would not let go.

He couldn't return to Redwall. If he returned and lied about not seeing anyone, and if anybeast even believed that, then sombeast would go searching for their young. Then if they were never found their ghosts would haunt him till his dying day. And even worse, if they were found and it was known that he had seen them... Then he was vermin and at best he would spend his days rotting in some dark tower. And if he stayed with the vermin? Then he would become vermin in turn. The last possibility was to leave and somehow take the others with him. But then what? Constance would call him a hero, Connington too maybe, but everybeast else would think he had just gotten cold feet. And what if the Guosim wanted to avenge the little shrew's wounded shoulder? Then they would descend with all their force on the vermin camp.

A grizzly image flew into his mind, of Greyclaw, gurgling blood as a rapier's handle stuck out of his throat. Fret felt himself turning green. He couldn't do that. Not to the vermin who had treated him like a friend. Another image flew into his mind. Matiya was dying from an axe buried in his skull, yelling 'traitor' at his face. He had to choose between his kin and his kind. His kin had never accepted him, his kind had, yet he had grown up with his kin, hating them, and loved the kind he had met this morning. It should have been an easy choice, but he couldn't bare to make it. If he chose kin then he would go back to being hated, and if he chose kind, then his kin had been right all along and he was just another vermin who had stolen their children. Slagar the Cruel indeed...

Yet he had to do something. And it was that knowledge that kept him so miserable. Why did he have to be the one with the difficult choice?

"Ye look miserable."

Fret turned and snapped at the one who spoke to him. "I'm freezing my tail off! Go away and let me be miserable!"

"Do ye want a hankie? Are ye gonna cry?" The other ferret mocked. She was taller than him, and better dressed, with a rapier hanging from her belt.

"No! I just need a fire is-"

"You are a horrible little liar. You want to go back to yer abbey, but yer scared they won't want ye."

It was as if she had read his mind. "No! No I hate the abbey!" It was only half a lie, the abbey meant Constance...and he loved his momma.

"If ye go back without the dibbuns, they find us, if ye come back with the dibbuns then my boys wasted their time, and what if the shrew get prickly about a shoulder cut? They blame you, don't they?"

"Leave me alone!" Fret snapped. The thoughts were bad enough in his head, to hear them thrown at him aloud was utterly painful.

"I do have a hankie if ye need it." She laughed. "I'm sure dem abbeybeast's treated you all fine and swell. Mayhaps I should let you go back to them. Tonight, but for now coz, make yerself at home." She punched his shoulder. It hurt quite a bit, probably more than she had intended. "Now come on, join the fun."

Connington was broken. He had failed her. He loved her more than life itself, yet he had lost them all. All her babes... And mayhaps even her as well.

Jon Connington loved Constance more than he should have. His father had been sickly, and his mother long since passed, when her family had taken him in. They had raised him like their own. Bloomsworth and her crinkled eyes, Corgan with his loud stories. And Constance. Small and shy and young, he had wanted to hide away and blend into the backdrop. She had taken none of it, and had dragged him (sometimes literally) everywhere with her. She was much larger, and technically his sister, but he had loved her more than that. She was his constant support, had helped him become the warrior he had dreamed of becoming. And she had chosen Rowland.

Chosen was putting it strongly, after all she had never known that he loved her. And how could he tell her, when she had not been there to drag him into place? She had married Rowland and he had tried harder than ever to be happy for her. She loved him like a brother, yet she was more than a sister ever could be.

He had been jealous of Rowland since the first time they met. The mouse was everything he was not. Big and strong and loud, and determined to become the Abbey Warrior. Constance and him had done it all together, and he had been there the whole while. Rowland had never known of Connington's plight. How he had been wracked with shame. How could he envy his best friend?

He had failed to tell Constance how he felt. He had failed to squash the snake of envy from his heart. And he had failed to protect his nieces and nephews.

Jon, Rowland, Constance and the Skipper had destroyed a vermin horde led by the infamous Mad-Eye Marik. They had crushed his fleet at sea, with a single boat loaded with oil. Rowland had fired a single, flaming arrow at the boat, and the warlord had been forced to swim right at their waiting forces. Blood had reddened the water and the Skipper himself had sent the ferret packing in humiliation.

Then their had been the wedding, and a knot was tied between his best friend and the one he had to call sister. He had left, to travel, he had claimed, but truly to put himself away from them. They were happy together, the love was true and beautiful and he did not belong there, not when he could not bare to see them together.

But he had never been strong of will, and had returned, only to leave once more. That's when he had met them, his nephews and nieces. Blackgrin, who had loved to smile so much, Chester's, who had chewed on chestnuts, Skip, who had been half a fish in the water.

And they were all dead now. Mad-Eye Marik had returned and nobeast was spared. Chester's had died from half-a-hundred sword thrusts. Blackgrin had had his skull crushed in. And Skip had been thrown into the river. And Rowland had died, half his face had been torn off, and three arrows were buried in his back. But there was no other beast with a tail like that.

He had failed them all, and when he saw Constance, warm paws wrapped over the silent ferret-babe he had vowed to make it right. That Fret would grow old and happy. That Constance would not loose another child.

And he had failed. Constance, Rowland, Chesters, Blackgrin, Skip and now Fret. He had failed them all.

The little weasel circled the squirrel.

Matiya had yelled and shouted and called them all cowards and rogues, their songs had drowned out his yelling, for a while but eventually it had gotten on Sharpfur's nerves. The little weasel, backed by the entire crew, had volunteered to prove them not-cowardly, and had asked for single combat. Matiya had asked for raw steel, and to his surprise the weasel had agreed. Though after a while he had tried to backtrack. Tibbers was being healed by an animal that looked more like folded paper, and could have been considered warm, if not for the fact that one of her crew had injured him in the first place. Then a circle had been made, and the two circled.

The sword was straight and sharp, Threeclaw, the half-pawed stoat had lent it to him, the weasel's dirk was smaller, and jagged. The mustelid seemed fearful of the larger, better-honed blade. Indeed Matiya half-expected him to yield at any moment.

The weasel dived forwards anyway, just ducking a swing of the blade. A rat in the crowd was not looking, his paws over his eyes. Momchillo looked torn between hissing at the foebeast and cheering him on. The rest were scared out of their wits.

His smaller opponent parried the larger blade with his small one, and rolled away, snatching up a pile of snow and hitting the squirrel square in the face with it. Sharpfur seized the moment, and struck, his dirk freed the sword from the squirrel's grip, and a moment later Matiya was on his back, a blade pressed against his throat.

"Haha, coward my teeth! Chew on yer tail abbeybeast!" The weasel exclaimed. And the band of vermin laughed. Threeclaw retrieved his sword.

"I'm un poco disapointed. Non non, Redwall should be better than this!"

Sharpfur sheathed his dirk and hopped off the squirrel. Matiya got to his feet, hot with shame.

"You're a dirty great snake! Let us go! We haven't done anything to any of you!" Hawthorn yelled.

Sharpfur did not appreciate being called a 'dirty great snake' and rounded on the insolent vole. "Snake, eh? You ought to be careful, snakes eat pretty little maids ever-so-often." The vermin crowd laughed once more.

"You're so brave, taunting a lady tied by rope! Release me now, or I shall make you a lady!"

'Oooooooooh', went the Honest Bunch.

"Ye think I'm scared of the likes of you?" He probably was in all honesty. But as the song said 'honesty was not his number one policy'.

"I know you're terrified!" She shot at him.

'Oooooooooooh!' In all honesty it was hard to tell who was more of a child.

"Fine then. Your turn. Get a knitting needle ready, I'm going to shove it down your throat!"

The rope was sliced free and Hawthorn was given a spear. Sharpfur circled her again, and Grey closed his eyes once more. This time however Matiya was behind him. The burly squirrel caught him from behind in a chokehold, and Hawthorn swung for the rope tying her friends. Instead, she hit the big rat Gulash, square on the knee.

He was a simple minded creature with a huge temper. Yelling in pain he freed the spear and threw it aside. He drew an axe, and charged, roaring. The young'uns shrieked, Grollo was pleading, Momchillo was crying, and Hawthorn fell backwards. Threeclaw tried to step in but was sent flying away with a vicious backhand swing. Hawthorn was on her back, the rat's axe raised above his head, ready to be brought down. When Fret's metal toy slammed into his eye, threw his aim off and the axe hit the snow. The rat turned to the ferret, who gulped audibly. Sharpfur was purple in the face from lack of air, and Greyclaw was sobbing into his paws. Hawthorn watched, transfixed, as Gulash lunged for Fret, now frozen in fear. That would have been the end of him, had another, taller and prettier ferret , not barged the younger one aside. Gulash missed his lunge, and was pinned to the snow by several vermin.

"What do ye think yer doing, eh? We're in enough trouble without you slicing her head in two! Squirrel let go of that runt or I will split your head in two!" Matiya let Sharpfur go, the weasel fell to his knees, gasping for breath, shooting a look of deepest loathing at the squirrel. Deathglare was wrapping the rope around the squirrel. Fret found his feet, and stood up, dazed by yet another close encounter. Instinct had made him lash out, he had barely registered the toy, or the force he had used.

Sharpfur was leaning on Grey Claw, shame filling him at having been beaten by the abbeybeast. "It's lucky Fret fancies you princess, else I'd be skinning yer bloody hide."

The vole looked ready to strangle him, and gave Fret a look with enough venom to make Asmodeus jealous. "I don't need the help of vermin!"

The words hurt more than a hot knife. "I just saved your life!" Fret snapped.

"You hit your friend. I'm sure people like you do it all the time." She shot back.

"People like me?" He whimpered. He didn't know whether to yell or to cry. He would get more sympathy from them if he cried, but the Honest Crew would think him weak if he did that.

"Stinky, lying, no good traitorous scum! Redwall gave you food, clothes and a fire. It gave you an education, taught you everything you know now! And you repay them by leading their young'uns to your band of pirates!"

"So what?" Sharpfur was more confident now that he could breathe. "You treated him like vermin, well vermin's what you'll get, pretty-face."

"I wonder how many shades darker your face can go." Hawthorn whispered coldly. Then Threeclaw pulled her away.

"You is needing to learn to control your tongue one day, little miss, or else it'll lead you six feet under."

"Abbeybeasts, eh Frettie?" Sharpfur commented. He did not notice the pained expression on the ferret's face.

"Frettie?" Asked Grey, uncertain.

"Leave me alone." Fret snapped, turning to leave.

But Sharpfur had had enough. "Why do you even care what everbeast thinks! Vermin are vermin, abbeybeasts are not! Evil in the skin, good from the cot!" He pointed at the ferret's frozen back. "If you spend all your life getting beast's to like you, you'll be the most popular deadbeast in Mossflower! Stop caring and grow up or go back to your bloody abbey!"

"Momchillo! Dinner's ready!" Rosebrush's voice echoed through the hall. Through the bell tower. Through the walls, through the snow-covered ground.

"Rosebrush, what is it?" Came Blind Agatha's voice. "Have you seen my son by any chance, the youngest one?"

"No, I haven't." Rosebrush replied. And soon Redwall rung with the names of missing children.



"Jack! Wot! Jack!"

But nobeast replied.

 on: Today at 06:36:34 PM 
Started by The Grey Coincidence - Last post by The Grey Coincidence
All Matiya could feel was a hard lump in his stomach. Everywhere he looked he could see Fret on the wall, yelling wildly. Did I hate him? I didn't hate him... I never did... I don't.

The air around the abbey was solemn and serious. Mother Constance was broken. She was pale, quiet and frozen. She didn't move, nor did she speak. Her heart was weak they said, in worried voices. Brother Jon had gone mad, it seemed. He had stayed by Constance's side constantly, until someone had brought him news of Fret's absence. Then he had run around the abbey like a madbeast, as if in a panic, searching for his nephew. He had circled the walls so often that Blind Agatha had brought him meals up there, not that he ate much. All they had found of Fret was a piece of his habit. No body, no prints, no scent. The snow had covered the last two, but they had dug for the first. Matiya wondered whether or not that was a good thing. Then the small mouse had cracked like an egg, and lost himself in despair, after having searched Mossflower so thoroughly his paw-prints could be seen in every inch of snow. He ate nothing for a while, and had grown sick and cold. Then the badgermum had physically forced him to eat something.

Tibbers the shrew was practicing with Jack-is-Lucky, the hare. His thin rapier was faster than the hare's axe, but packed less of a punch, and the hare had made him surrender several times over. Momchillo and Grollo watched with solemn faces, though Momchillo had the ghost of a grin on his face. Then again he hadn't heard Fret that night. None of them had. Jack-is-Lucky had hopped back into the hall, unable to find him. But then they had heard Rosebrush's cries and had come running. The Long Patrol had scouted the area in search of the culprit... But they had not found anyone there.

"Yield!" The hare demanded good-naturedly, his axe barely held above the shrew's chest.

Matiya had a wooden sword hanging from a scabbard at his side. What would Martin have done? Or any other warrior in his position? They would have convinced Fret that they didn't hate him. They'd have some way to tell him the truth. All he had done was look stupid. But if they had failed, like him... They'd have found Fret by now. Then Matiya grinned as the guilt left him. He would bring the ferret home if it killed him! Like a true hero!

Fret realized three things before he woke up. One, his head was sore and throbbing. Two, he was on a somewhat soft floor. Three, Grey was sniffing something.

"What are you doing here?" Fret snapped, sitting up and making his head spin like a toy.

"Hullo Frettie!" The rat responded, good-naturedly, waving at him.

"What are you doing here? Who let you in? What about the ghost?" He was in a dimly lit room, lying on a carpet of silk.

"This isn't your bloody abbey!" The weasel said, shrieking with laughter at his confusion.

"B-but-" It made no sense. One moment there was the feast and then Matiya had caught him at the wall and then he had slipped on something cold, and fell off the abbey.

"You fell down the abbey, almost flattened me, then me and Grey took you back home." Sharpie explained, catching his dirk as it fell through the air.

"What were you doing at Redwall?"

"Vittles!" Grey exclaimed, chewing on a slab of cheese he had been sniffing a moment ago.

Disorientated as he was Fret didn't know how to react to that.

"You were meant to bring some to me too you greedy lump!" Sharpfur snapped, making Grey look sheepish.

"I told you, a mouse walked in and fell down. Then somebeast was coming and I ran away! It wasn't like I ate... Much."

"Grey, you ate enough food to last me the whole of winter! And you licked all the soup off of him!"

"I offered to let you have some." Grey pointed out, staring at his feetpaws in shame.

"I wasn't going to lick soup off a dead body!"

Fret tuned them out, his head still turbulent and dizzy.

"Do your feetpaw work?" Grey asked him suddenly.

"I guess..." He tried to get up, and a black spot covered his vision, but after a while his eyes readjusted and aside from the constant throb of his brain he felt no pain. "Where am I?" Fret asked, clenching and unclenching his claws to bring some sense of feeling back into them.

"Mossflower Woods. Do you want to see our camp?" Grey offered.

"Camp? There's more of you?"

Sharpfur giggled. "Welcome matey, to the humble camp of the Honest Bunch!"

"It's cold." Hawthorn complained, as she trailed behind the band, shivering madly.

"Aye, it's winter." Jack-is-Lucky replied, not noticing the underlying tone of a whine.

But the albino vole would not be disuaided. She had heard the boy's mad rush to go in search of Fret and had in turn followed them out to attempt to stop them from getting lost. "Brother Jon failed to find him, what chance do we have?"

"Your mouse went alone. In the Guosim we know that we must work together."

"Fret's our... Neighbour." Grollo summarised awkwardly. "We can't abandon him."

"What he said." Momchillo added, with a cheeky grin, before giving a loud, fake sigh. "Hawthorn, my beautiful queen. Do not fear, when we have spotted his black and white hide we will drag him back to Redwall-and all before supper!"

"Oi thunk he moight hab run awaywards." The mole, Roseheart, who was her constant companion, suggested.

That was what Matiya feared most of all. That Fret had ran off into the night, hating them all. What if some monster had come out of nowhere and made the ferret his dinner? What if he had sworn vengeance on the abbey and had ran off to make his horde? No...That...wasn't Fret. He wasn't evil. He couldn't be evil. The group was quiet, save for the crunching of the snow.

"Why can't you just accept he might be dead?" She sighed in frustration. She had never liked Fret. He smelled funny and was rude and scary. And in the tales of old his kind attacked Redwall ever-so-often.

Matiya paused and looked at her with deep-rooted confusion. "Do you hate him?"

"Hate? No, that's a bit much..." Ladies never hated anyone, not unless their family had been harmed. "But he's not worth risking our lives for!"

"Anybeast is worth risking your life for my fair lady." Jack-is-Lucky finished. To which the other boys said 'aye'.

"Noit Frettie." The molemaid bristled, shivering.

"''Aye!' Mes amigos, bonjour and welcome to Mossflower!" The children turned to the new, accented voice.

It belonged to a large and slender stoat, pale white fur glittered and red eyes glinted with amusement. From a belt hung a rapier, two daggers and one short, straight sword. He was accompanied by a shorter, chubby and pouchy-faced pine marten who had no weapons on his own belt.

"Ah mates, how nice of you to come along! We're looking for a friend of ours. Black and white fur, about yay-high, sort of on the snappy side?"

"Friend or foe? What is a hare wanting with a ferret?" The stoat asked, leaning against a tree.

"How do you know he's a ferret?" Matiya asked, fear prickling down his spine as he glanced repeatedly at the silent marten.

"A squirrel sees things his companions do not. Bravo, mais you must permit me to tell you half the truth. Your amigo dropped down for a visit."

"You kidnapped him." Momchillo gasped.

"Oh, non non, monsieur if it weren't for us your ferret would be a frozen corpse. We saved his life, and now we may even take you to him!" The Long Patrol's teachings kicked in, and noticed the underlying threat.

"Ho-ho mate, if you think we'll come quietly then I'm sorry to have to be so blunt, wot. But no hare of the Long Patrol will be taken by the likes of you." Jack-is-Lucky freed his axe, Tibbers drew his rapier and Matiya, feeling slightly abashed, drew his wooden sword. "Give us our companion, friend, neighbour and you will be left with your lives."

"Long Patrol? Hum hum, do you know a monsieur with one eye? He owes me a few fingers, you see." And he held up, half his paw was missing, and he had two claws and his one thumbclaw left.

"Why, he's my father matey!" The hare roared as he dived forwards. Tibbers was just as quick on his feetpaws and dived forwards, rapier pointed at the stoat's chest.

The white-furred fiend lazily swerved away from the axe-swing that would have split his skull open, and parried the shrew's blade with his own rapier. His rapier's flat blade rapped the hare's knuckles, and his grip on the axe weakened slightly. Then he deftly parried another swing from the little shrew and sparks flew. He drew his straight sword, and parried both weapons with his own pair. Then the flat of the sword and rapier dealt a stunning blow to the hare's skull, making his head ring like a bell. Then Tibbers was thrown onto his back, and in a spray of red, with a cry of pain, the rapier pinned him to the ground through the shoulder.

Hawthorn screamed in terror, and the molemaid fainted clear away. The stoat grinned widely.

"Tsk, tsk I thought the Long Patrol was better than this." Then he drew the rapier free and spun both blades in a circle around him.

Matiya ran at him, swinging his wooden sword madly around him. The stoat sliced the wood clean in two and pressed the rapier's point against the squirrel's throat.

"Nobeast moves!" He ordered. "Or are you wishing for more spilled blood? Deathglare, get the rope out."

The silent pine marten withdrew a rope.

"So you just do whatever you want?" Fret asked, perplexed by the freedom his companions had. T

The camp was small-ish, with twenty patchwork homes. There were holes in the trees, with blankets draped over the entrance. Overturned boats made strange sights, and one pine marten, whom Grey had described as 'scarier than Hellgates' lived in a newly made home of piled snow. They were all vermin here. An elderly pine marten called Sick-eyes who was the resident seer, and so wrinkled and old she looked akin to a folded paper. Gulash, a huge rat that had chased all three of them after Sharpfur had hurled a snowball at his back. Sickletail who was the weasel's mother, and had tried to make Fret eat an extra portion of food. Sharpfur had three elder and four younger siblings, the last one was just a babe, the others mere dibbuns. But older than him he had Heartrip, Redtail and Blizzard, vicious, argumentative and just as snappy as Fret. There was Deathglare, the seer's cousin, whom Grey had warned him about. He never spoke, but his pouchy face could not hide his eyes, which made you shiver just to look at them. Then there was Threeclaw, the blade master, who Sharpfur had insisted could turn anything into a weapon.

Here he was everybeast's 'mate', and when somebeast said something mean it was considered weak to not snap back with your own well-chosen insult. Here, Fret fit right in. Nobeast cared what he smelled like or what Mattimeo's son's uncle's nephew was called. Nobeast cared that he was a ferret. Yet he knew, deep down, that he couldn't stay. Connington and Constance would be worried sick about him, and he couldn't just leave them. Yet every time he thought of the abbey, he couldn't help but feel a twist of his innards. If only Redwall treated him like vermin did...

"Well, I suppose so, so long as we stay away from the otters, the shrews, the abbey and come back alive than yes, we do what we want." Grey was different though. To Fret at least, the chubby rat was different. He didn't snap, he didn't argue, he was soft-hearted and sweet, and scared to death of being alone.

"Ma found him in the river. He was just a dibbun, trying to tread water and ma took him in. I reckon his parents dumped him off some boat. First while he didn't even sleep at night, too scared we just left him behind. That's why he started sharing my room." Sharpfur had explained.

Indeed the rat followed the weasel everywhere. No matter how bitter, rude or snappy he could be, Grey did as he was bid, sometimes wrongly, sometimes with uncertainty, but he did it all anyways.

Fret rubbed at his temple, trying to think of a subtle way to return to the abbey. The largest issue he was faced with was the abbeybeast's reactions. What was he meant to tell them? That he had been nursed back to normal and saved from a snowy burial by vermin? They hated him enough as it was, and would probably throw him out if they heard it put that way. So he ought to lie, right? But what lie? What could satisfy the badgermum?

"So, are you sharing our room, or do we have to make one for you?" The sudden question twisted a knife in his gut. How was he meant to break the news to simple-hearted, simple-minded Grey Claw? Mayhaps he ought to be blunt...

"I-I can't stay Grey." He explained slowly, desperate not to snap at him.

"Why not?" Sharpfur demanded. The little weasel had a habit of demanding things. "Your precious abbey threw you off the wall. Listen to me mate, that ghost got you I swear it. If ye go back then yer a deadbeast."

"And why would you care?" Fret snapped loudly, he had not meant to at first-but he had had to protect himself from the weasel's tone.

"Because Grey here doesn't want to see your hide hanging for the birds!" The weasel retorted.

"They're not going to kill me. Anyhow you can't stop me leaving!"

Grey sat in the snow, sniffing loudly. And Fret felt a mix of guilt and anger. Why was the rat so hurt by the one fact. They barely knew each other.

"Blood runs thicker than water, ferret." Sharpfur scowled, hovering protectively over the rat. "Remember that."

"What does that mean?" Fret snapped. Why was such a big deal being made about all this? He had a family in Redwall, even if he had nothing else.

Before Sharpie could open his mouth to respond a pair of vermin approached. A brown, chubby pine marten with a pouchy face made Fret shiver. The other vermin was a white stoat with red eyes, humming a tune.

And tied by their paws to a rope were the abbey young'uns, wearing confused and frightened expressions. Matiya looked directly at him with visible pain and a look of betrayal.

"Haha, was I not telling you we'd bring you to your amigo?" The stoat asked.

Matiya slipped free of the rope around his paws and dived for Fret. The squirrel and the ferret rolled through the snow. Matiya ended up on top, a fist crashing down into his face. Each punch was punctuated by an angry yell. "Traitor! You evil! Lying! Son of a-"

Deathglare freed Fret from the squirrel's wrath, and threw Matiya to the ground, where Sharpfur pointed a dirk at his throat. The ferret was a mess. His face was dark and blotchy, a tooth had been knocked free and blood was flowing freely from his nose. Grey Claw helped him up timidly. And Fret stumbled on his feet, lost completely in all thoughts, though there was one that swam near the surface of his mind.

He couldn"'t go back to Redwall...

 on: Today at 06:34:01 PM 
Started by The Grey Coincidence - Last post by The Grey Coincidence
The first snows were a soggy thing, and made the damp soil muddy. Winter was the season Fret hated most. Since food was scarce and snows made it hard to travel everybeast flocked to the Abbey. The cottages were emptied and everybeast lived within. That meant that for an entire season he had to endure everyone's near constant gaze. And that wasn't the worst. The Guosim shrews turned up more often than not, and many had given him queer looks. One had even asked loudly who had painted a poor mouse black and white? The jest had fallen flat. The otters never turned up, thankfully. They travelled further south where it was warmer. Badgers, hedgepigs, moles and their annoying accents. And there was no way to avoid any of them. Some like Blind Agatha stayed well away from him, others approached cautiously, but rarely stayed longer than it took for him to snap at something they had said. The abbeybeasts who lived with him tried particularly hard to keep him out of the way, and for that he was glad, but with so many mouths to feed it was hard to focus on one ferret. Connington was swarmed away by others who fancied themselves warriors and Constance was busy with cooking, and cleaning. She was also swarmed away by other mice and mothers. But there were no vermin to swarm him away. It got even worst when the ground hardened into ice and the snow set. And it was on one such day, on the morning of the Great Feast of Winter, that Fret's story truly began.

He was idly flicking the toy, when a great pile of snow fell on top of him. This was followed with laughter. His head broke free of the snow to glare at the usual cast. Matiya clambered down a tree clad in white, and grinned as he admired his work.

"You make a great snowbeast Fret." Momchillo commented, grinning at his own wit.

"Very clever." Fret snapped, climbing out of the snow and shaking himself free, before digging a paw in to retrieve the yo-yo. Then a ball of snow caught him on the side of the head.

"Let us do battle vermin fiend!" The mouse shrieked, Fret threw a pawful of snow into his open mouth.

"No thanks." The ferret responded.

"Aw, why the long face? Cheer up for once matey and you might even enjoy yourself!" Matiya poked him on the nose.

"I don't find getting frozen very enjoyable." And he brushed off the squirrel's paw.

"You'd only be frozen till the feast." Grollo pointed out, throwing a snowball that was aimed for Fret at Matiya. "My dad made pies and soups and cheeses-"

"Your dad is the cook." Fret snapped. "I know he cooks."

"What's that noise?" Momchillo asked, his ears twisting around.

"Your voice." Fret responded dryly. But then he heard it too. It was... Music?

"Dad got friendly with the beer again." Momchillo sighed.

"Those aren't any abbeybeasts. They're the-"

And then Fret could hear the words playing out clearly as the singers approached the doors.

"We're the long patrol." Came the loudest voice, followed by a chorus of roughly twenty voices.

"The Long Patrol, the Long Patrol! Merry old souls, we're the Long Patrol, come one come all, welcome to Redwall. Be ye thin and tall or fat and small, we're the Long Patrol! We serve till we're dead and cold, the wise and old, the young and bold, we're the Long Patrol!"

The doors opened wide as twenty hares marched through, their movements in perfect coordination with the tune.

Matiya stared at them almost worshipfully. "The Long Patrol!" He squealed, overcome with excitement.

Fret was somewhat less excited, but used the opportunity to sneak away from the trio. His last encounter with any famed vermin-fighters was still fresh in his mind. The Skipper almost ran him through with a spear. He shuddered. That had been traumatic. Still the trip had been decent in the end. He had told nobeast about the weasel or the rat, however, they would just come up with their own endings, the way they always did.

He passed Martin's fabled sword and the tapestry. He paused to eye it with disdain. Martin the Warrior, leaning on his blade while a score of vermin fled before him. He snorted. Whoever had made it left out Martin's army, and the dead bodies of both. Somehow he felt that that many vermin would have just flattened the mouse.

"I suppose your magic sword saved your tail." If Fret had a magic sword the first thing he'd do was slice up Matiya's wooden one. But the only magic sword was Martin's and the abbey had had no warrior for generations, and had never had a vermin for one either... Ever. He was almost tempted to take it, to try and spin it around, to prove that he wasn't a vermin... That he was a-

"Ferret." He snarled into his reflection in the sword. "I am that is." The words inscribed on the blade certainly felt different than they must have to Mathias, when the mouse had beaten Cluny the Scourge and saved Redwall. Fret saw them as another cold reminder, forged a thousand seasons past- that he could never be one of them.

"You're just a dead mouse." Fret spat at the still-smiling warrior.

"We're all dead meat in the end. Even if we had a pretty blade."

Fret leapt a foot in the air at the sudden intrusion. The Badgermum was one of the few whose meer presence made him mumble a lot more than snap. "Oh, Miss, I-I didn't mean anything, I was just er-daydreaming is all." He was reminded horribly of the bloodwrath, how some warriors went mad in battle and tore any in their path.

"I am that is." She murmured. "Enjoy the feast." And with that she dismissed him, and he wasted no time leaving. Before he shoved it to the back of his mind he couldn't help thinking that Fret sounded somewhat like ferret.

With nothing better to do, Fret climbed up to the walls, and found himself staring out into space. The land looked neater, he decided, when it was carpetted in snow.

But no neat backdrop could crush his inner turmoil. Everything had gone back to normal after the otter's visit. The back of the class in History, falling asleep at the endless tales of some abbeybeast's great deeds. Abbot Martin was softer, that much was true, but that didn't stop him from giving Fret the harder questions. The only difference was that the mouse encouraged him to study harder, and even helped out from time to time. But no matter what Abbot Martin tried Fret was heavily reminded that he didn't fit in.

One ferret, scores of mice, shrews, squirrels... And he was the only ferret. He was different, too different. Yet what was so different about him that nobeast wanted anything to do with him? What was the wall between him and everybeast? His snapping? His laziness? He shook his head clear, he was a ferret...he just had to accept that. And after him... The rest of the abbey.

It was dark, and snow covered Mossflower Woods as Sharpfur leaned against a tree, waiting for his friend. He didn't have to wait for very long, as the rat fell on him a moment later, sniffing the air with his madly-twitching nose.

"Do you smell that?" The rat asked.

"All I smell is you." The weasel responded, wriggling loose of his companion's girth.

"It's like... Vittles!" The rat grinned so wide you could count his teeth. Greyclaw fell on all fours, his nose leading the way.

"It better be!" Sharpie snapped, following anyways.

The feast had separated him from Fret and Constance most wonderfully. Constance was dining with the ladies, laughing at their jokes and passing dishes around. Connington was seated opposite the Log-a-log and the Long Patrol. Fret he could not see, and hoped dearly that he was behaving and being treated properly in turn.

"And how come you ain't the abbey warrior Connie?" The grizzled, one eyed hare looked a monster, yet was more mannered then half. "A magic sword- someone ought to swing it, wot."

Connington smiled sadly. "Alas, I prefer shorter swords, and ones that aren't magic. Ghosts are frightening."

The hares hooted at this and banged the table. The shrew looked disappointed.

"Tis too large for a shrew matey, and too small for any these hares. You'd best start swinging it soon."

"In times of peace the abbey needs no warrior." The small mouse dismissed, in truth guilt kept the sword out of reach... Forever out of reach.

"Peace, eh? I don't want to frighten you mouse, but I'm afraid peace won't last long. I've heard that vermin are banding together in great numbers, flocking to the lands of Always Winter. We might well have a fight on our paws before next snow!"

"Good! I haven't had a good fight in years!" The one eyed hare joked, then pointed at the hole in his head. "I still need to repay the favour."

The small mouse felt his stomach churn, and even as the talk turned elsewhere he couldn't help but worry. If war with vermin was imminent, what became of the vermin within Redwall?

"I don't think we should be here." Grey gulped as he stood in the shadow of the abbey's red walls.

"Nonsense! Ghosts can't harm us coz we're not grownups yet, anyhow we have my dirk."

Grey sighed with relief.

"Now, to vittles and beyond! Grey, sniff it out!" And the weasel tossed his dirk into the air, watching the blade glint in the darkness.

It was as Grollo had promised. Every table was piled with so much food it was a wonder they didn't break. And yet Fret was not hungry. He sat, slumped and bored out of his wits, next to him was a little shrew of the Guosim, who seemed positively frightened of him. Opposite him, positively pigging out behind a mountain of food, was Grollo. Momchillo was on his other side, laughing uproariously at a young hare sharing there table.

"For the night is dark and full of turnips!" He yelled, stabbing into a turnip with his fork. "We must pray for some carrots!" And he wiggled his long ears. Everyone except Fret laughed. "So fellow youngsters, when we are all as big as we can be, what do we desire? What shall we use ourselves as? A dibbun must plan ahead, no?"

"I'm going to be the greatest abbey warrior ever!" Matiya exclaimed, stabbing a turnip himself.

"I'll just cook stuff." Grollo shrugged, before diving back into his dinner.

"He who leaves his destiny undecided is the wisest of them all." Momchillo tried to quote something Abbot Martin had once told them.

"I'm going to be the Log-a-log!" The shrew squeaked.

"And what about you?" It took the ferret a while to realize he was the one being spoken to.

"I'm going to sleep." He snapped instinctively. Had the hare been implying something?

"Fret here is the number one spy in the abbey." Momchillo said seriously.

"Aye, you'd think he's a mouse more often than not." The table laughed at what he thought was a pathetic excuse for a joke. Deciding that he could distract himself with food he reached for a baked apple as big as him. Only for the hare to snatch it away and start juggling it along with a turnip and a carrot. He was also singing, though so horrendously Fret did not hear the words.

"Are you actually a ferret or are you an otter painted like one? You know, like the Mask." The shrew asked innocently.

Fret felt an eye twitch in annoyance. "I'm a ferret."

"You see, an impressive spy. You never know what he is. I swore yesterday he was a rat." Matiya joked.

Fret reached for a bowl of soup. Just as the turnip fell inside, throwing the contents of the bowl over Fret and the shrew. The Guosim boy shrieked with laughter and licked the his fur. Fret though, was scowling.

"You did that on purpose." The ferret accused.

"I did not!" Scoffed the hare. "Besides, you look better now."

"Aye and much tastier." Matiya added.

The table laughed once more, but Fret was not amused. He left the table after that, leaving a trail of creamy soup behind him. He heard laughter, and was sure it was directed at him. He left the hall, hot and angry.

Grey had sniffed out a miniature dent in the wall, and had dug in, sniffing madly, leaving Sharpfur to toss his blade into the air as he waited for the vittles to show up.

The snow was cleared to form a path towards the wall. It was dark and cold, but Fret liked it better than the Hall and all the laughter. He was just a joke, as usual. The joke, the vermin. He kicked at a pile of snow and sat on the edge of the wall. It was cold and freezing and he was sure the soup was freezing over him. He should probably be getting back... He was about to leave when he spotted a bright glint in the moonlight. He leant forwards, and almost slipped over the edge.

"Careful Fret." Came Matiya's voice, as the squirrel caught him by the back of his habit and pulled him back. "You ought to be more careful, you almost fell right off."

"I didn't!" Fret snapped automatically. He shivered and pulled himself free of Matiya's grip, turning to leave.

"Why are you always in such a bad mood?" The squirrel shot back as Fret turned to leave. "Was it something I said?"

Fret paused. Did this squirrel honestly have no idea what he put him through? No! He was just pretending! "It was a lot of things you've done!" Fret snapped.

"A couple of jokes? Pshaw, what's wrong with you? Learn to laugh a little. Tibbers got as much soup on him as you did, and he didn't run off crying about it."

"I wasn't crying. And he doesn't have to deal with stuff like this every day!"

"Stuff like what?"

"Like you! Like being vermin! Like being a liar! You've lied so many times to get me in trouble, but I'm the liar. Nobeast's as hated as me and you're asking what I go through?" Fret exploded, the emotions he had surpressed since the trip with the otters came boiling to the surface.

"Hated?" The squirrel looked confused. "Nobeast hates you." The squirrel's response came to him like slap to the face.

"The Skipper tried to run me through! You and Momchillo and Grollo hate me just for existing!"

"Hate you? We don't hate y-"

"Liar! Liar liar liar liar liar!" Fret yelled, his voice echoing in the darkness.


"Go back to your feast." Fret finished, in a quieter voice, spinning on his heel and walking away.

Matiya stood there, the same confusion painted on his face.

Fret was seething as all the memories came rushing into him. He was Slagar the Cruel and Cluny the Scourge. They didn't hate him? He almost laughed out loud. Nobeast loved him. Where was Constance? Where was Connington? Love! Now he did laugh. They hated him, why did everyone go out of their way to pretend they didn't? Something else glinted in the darkness, and he hated it. If not for that stupid glint he wouldn't have exploded.

His momma loved him. Connington liked him. But he was just too different for all the rest. The hare's question rung through his mind... What would he do when he was older?

"I'll be a ferret." He snarled, peaking over the wall in search of the maddening glint. Then he slipped on an icy ridge, and fell right off, his habit tore against a parparet and, arms flailing madly, he screamed into the cold, empty night.

As tempting as it was to follow the sound of music, Grey knew better. Where there was music there was people, and although the vittles' smelled the strongest from a grand hall, he followed another scent, down a flight of stairs, past a shiny sword and a fancy tapestry, and into a smoking hot kitchen. His jaw fell slack at the sight of all the food. He licked his chops, rubbed his paws, and jumped right in.

Matiya walked back into the feast room feeling a lot less jovial.

"He's not sore about the soup is he?" The hare asked, sounding somewhat guilty.

"No... He just needs... To think." The ferret's face was yelling into his own. Was he lying? He had never thought much about Fret, aside from him being queer, and snappy... But hate was putting it strongly. They weren't mates exactly, but Fret had grown up with them. They couldn't hate him. And they didn't.

"Nevertheless I shall go apologise!" The hare exclaimed. "He's in the cellar?"

"The wall."

"Thought so!" And the hare skipped off.

"Is he really a ferret in Redwall?" The shrew called Tibbers asked. "Aren't they mostly rotten."

"I've never met another ferret." Momchillo pointed out. "But Fret's just grumpy, not rotten."

"Normally he eats a lot." Grollo commented. "But he's a bit messy."

"He's just as rotten as you are shrew." Momchillo summarised. "Though somewhat less apetizing."

And again they laughed.

"Ferret!" The hare whistled loudly. "Here ferrety ferrety Frettie! Aw, come on matey, don't be a spoilsport! It was my mistake. I swear you may soak me in any dish you like-so long as it's not that otterly spicy one. Here ferrety, ferrety, Frettie!" But nobeast replied. He hopped around the wall, and found no hair nor hide of him.

"Constance dear, there's some pie down in the kitchens. Could you get them for me?"

Glad for an excuse to leave the hall, she nodded. The music was pounding her ears wildly, and she had already stuffed herself silly. Talking was entertaining and all, but she had to surpress a yawn one too many times. She hoped Fret was alright, and would have checked on him, but found no way to do so without leading him to some form of humiliation. She passed the sword of Martin the Warrior and the tapestry and smiled. The mouse's spirit guided them all.

She proceeded further down to the kitchens and heard a clatter as something fell to the floor. Probably the cook, that hedgepig was always a clumsy one.

"Excuse me, Brother-" But she found herself staring...not at any cook, but at a head, poking out of a half-eaten pie.

The rat gulped the pie. "Hullo." He said nervously, waving a paw at her.

The eyes... The tail... She placed a paw over her heart, and stumbled backwards, falling on her back with a loud clatter.

Grey Claw gulped, and heard doors opening and closing. "Constance! Do you have that pie?"

And he raced away, barging out the other door.

"Constance?" Rosebrush, Momchillo's mother, a brown mouse, poked her head from the door, and gasped at the sight. "Somebeast help! Something's happened to her!"

 on: Today at 06:31:13 PM 
Started by The Grey Coincidence - Last post by The Grey Coincidence
"I am hers and she is mine." Said one tall mouse, thick and muscled.

"I am his and he is mine." Replied another, just as tall.

Then they spoke in unison. "From this day, till the end of my days."

Then as the two mice sealed their love with a kiss, the cheering and the music broke out. The drums were beaten, horns were sounded and everybeast was stomping their feet and clapping paws.

Connington smiled as hard as he could-ignoring the constant pang in his chest. He had to be happy for them. Rowland was his best friend and Constance... Was like a sister. The Skipper gave him a hard slap on the back.

"Cheer up Jon! Your day will come soon." He dropped his voice to a whisper. "Agatha's been eyeing you the whole time."

"I'm fine Skip... Just worried is all... Mad-Eye Marik still had half his horde-"

"Aye and a javelin through the rear- I should know, I put it there meself." He roared with laughter, patted his friend on the back again and went to join some otter girls.

But Connington was not relieved. All the Skipper had done was infuriate the ferret. Constance was tripping around as she danced with Rowland... She had never been a good dancer... And Rowland, he looked drunk with love, and was constantly stepping on somebeast's tail. If only he could be happy too...

"He was my friend too Skip! Or are you forgetting that?" Thoughts of Rowland hurt him more than any blade ever could.

"You know what they did to him! To Constance's babes! Your neices! Your nephews! How could you?"

"Fret had nothing to do with that!"

"His kind did! All of his ilk! They butchered them all! Do you remember?!"

Abbot Martin was beginning to feel threatened in the warriorbeasts' presence. He was no fighter himself, and the emotions were running so high it was a wonder the two weren't going for the kill already.

"I remember everything! And I don't remember Fret having anything to do with it!"

"I only recognized him for his tail. Bent a long time ago when he was a dibbun. And I saw that ferret poke so many holes in little Chesters..." The otter took a deep breath. "They smashed Fleece into a tree and threw his wailing body into the river. They'd have killed Constance too if they could!"

"That was gruesome Skipper-gruesome and unforgivable. But Connington was correct when he said that Fret was not one of them. He might have not been born even."

He had been a babe back then... A little thing, alone and helpless. Of course Constance had taken him in and raised her as her own, her family did the same with me.

The air was tense from the silence as the Skipper thought this over.

"Tell your varmint I'm sorry Jon." The otter growled. "He shouldn't have been born one of them. But he could hardly decide that. I overreacted is all... But you know our history Connington. Don't go bringing him here again!"

Jon nodded, eager to return to the abbey. "No worries old friend."

"But you be watchful of 'Im. Maybe he ain't a varmint yet-but if you ain't careful he'll be one within the season. He's got bad blood in his veins."

"I'm aware of your thoughts Skipper." Connington said frowning. "And yours Abbot. But I stand by what I said- Fret is a good lad."

The otter then shook his head, forcing a chuckle. "It's been a while since we disagreed on anything, eh?"

Connington too managed a grin. "Too long."

Constance was pacing her cottage.

She had found Fret mewling like a newborn. He had been alone and helpless, and she had found her heart rushing out to him. Alone and cold and hungry and helpless. Blood ran down the wall, and a corpse lay on the ground. She had killed a dozen fighters to get this far, but she could not bring herself to bring her axe down on the child-ferret or not. Instead, she had pressed him against her cold armour, and rocked him backwards and forwards, until the wailing and whimpering stopped and he was fast asleep. Then when they had found her in the morning, still clutching the frightened babe she had announced that he was hers. The large mouse had to endure cries of outrage and gasps filled with shock. But no amount of sense would make her let go of the babe. She had been reminded, half-a-hundred times, of Veil Sixclaw, who's own mother had called him 'evil' after all was said and done. Constance had replied with a 'ant Byrony, and his name is Fret- not Veil!' For nine seasons she had watched him crawl and waddle and walk. She had seen him cry, made him laugh and recieved more of his snapping than anybeast.

She had lost three babes... Three beautiful babes, before fate had handed her Fret. She had lost three and couldn't bear to loose a fourth. That was the root cause of her pacing.

What if things didn't go well? The Skipper had loved her like a sister, yet had hated vermin of any kind with a passion. And vermin or not-Fret was a ferret. Would the Skipper mistreat him? Would he jump to conclusions? Surely if Jon explained everything properly... Yet Mossflower Woods were huge, and certainly large enough to get lost in. Then the door opened and Fret walked in, looking as worried to see her as she was relieved to see him.

Fret almost cursed his luck. He had wanted to sneak into his room quietly, so as not to alert her of his arrival. Naturally she was there already.

"H-hi momma."

"Oh Fret, you're back already!" She wrapped him in a hug before he knew what was happening. He recoiled from the movement inwardly, but was also glad to be safely home again. "How was the trip?"

The question pressed into him like a hot iron rod, and out of instinct Fret responded. "It was great!"

Constance didn't fully believe his words, but in all honesty she was glad for the reassurance-forced or otherwise.

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