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Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 10
 on: Today at 07:55:39 PM 
Started by Captain Tammo - Last post by Captain Tammo

Chapter 4: The Wunpaw and Carmen's Captive

     Until the early afternoon of that same day, Lance Corporal Carmen O’Foster Bobo’s self-proclaimed ‘grand search for the missing patrol’, which she practiced saying many times to herself with grandeur, should a beast ever stop her and ask what she was doing, had yet to yield a single bit of success. It was so easy in the beginning, but after the rudeness of the otter holt on the north shore, the dangerous squall, and the entirety of her equipment being soaked through and chilling herself to the bone, the very last of young Carmen’s enthusiasm had finally left her. She stumbled on through the trees, muttering to herself, “Well what’d ya expect, Carmen, eh? What? That ye’d find the blinkin’ patrol sitting on logs ‘round a campfire on th’ first day out? Bah – outta me way, bloody tree branch. Take that!”
   Carmen flopped backwards, flat on her back and with fir tree needles stuck to her face like she had run into the back of a hedgehog. It was too much. Still lying down, she held her head in her paws and gave a long shout of frustration, “You bloody mountains an’ yer filthy, stinkin’ trees! Yer filthy, stinkin’ squalls an’ yer filthy stinkin… rraaaargh!”
   Had the young hare truly known of what kind of environment she was in, she would have kept her mount shut and pressed on in silence. For not long after she picked herself up did a creature find her and begin following closely behind. Two yellowed eyes with brown irises and tiny, black pupils darted every which way, but always settled back onto Carmen from behind the shrubbery. The creature grinned wickedly: this beast was alone! It was one of those mountain hares, tired and unguarded. The creature licked its lips at the thought of its next meal. Setting back into reality, the savage beast moved forward steadily.


   Back at Salamandastron, Lord Barbourn the Brawler sat staring at his great map. The corporal at the door, the same one who had escorted Carmen into the forge room, had just let a messenger inside. He looked down the corridor to be sure that nobeast was watching him and he pressed an ear to the great door of the forge room. Ever since his mistake of mislabeling Carmen as the lance corporal most likely to get promoted, he had decided to begin listening a bit more intently to the details and happenings both on and around the mountain – beyond the series of notes he jotted down on his master list. Long, slender ear standing flush against the door, brow furled and eyes closed in an intense concentration, the attendant tried to tune out all other minute noises and disturbances around him. Carefully taking note of the conversation inside the forge room, this is what he heard:
   “Yes, m’lord, First Class Runner Flint Northock reportin’ in after a two-week loop out t’ the east, wot. Spent two days’ quick directly east, through the mountains an’ Ember Pass. Then took a curve northward up to the River Moss, wot. ‘Passed th’ village o’ Turntokka on me way (no news to report there), an’ carried on for two days more until I was met with th’ River Moss, sah. From there, sah, I turned westward an’ followed the stream back to th’ coast. The waters looked to be fairly high until I came across the tributary of interest, sah. I stuck to the brush an’ followed it upriver an’ what I saw confirmed the recent reports from the surrounding area: a dam ‘as been built by the tribe of river otters known as the Wunpaw an’ it’s blocking most o’ the water from flowing downstream. Two distinct subgroups of the Wunpaw have set up camp on the east and west banks of the tributary. Both two sides are locked in a struggle for the River King’s throne an’ a civil war is likely if action is not soon taken. I spent a day getting a closer look an’ spoke with the locals on each side as an official diplomat from Salamandastron, sah, an’ I respectfully showed my credentials to all who asked. Through my talks with the elders of the tribe, I was able to learn about the Wunpaw tribe’s history and culture, as well as why the situation is so tense.
   “It all started when Sirus Trubac, River King for some forty seasons, suddenly fell ill and died. Most elders on either side of the banks could agree on this, and this alone. However, the cause of River King Sirus’s death remains a controversial topic. While some otters believe that his decline in health was due to head injury from a battle with a pike  many seasons prior – you see, in the Wunpaw culture, when there are no heirs to the throne, the council of elders may elect to hold a pike hunt. All who wish to ascend to the throne and become River King (or queen, though there has never been a queen) set out an hour before dawn, armed to the teeth with spears, daggers, nets and the like, and try to locate and kill a river pike. The rules state that no creature may leave the water, else they lose their shot at the throne, and…”
   “Focus, Runner Northock. Just tell me what must be done in order to fix the problem. There are entire settlements along the River Moss who need that water and are counting on us to provide a solution.” Said Lord Barbourn. He brought the runner to a long table and offered him a seat at one end.
   The runner blushed and bowed low, “My most sincere apologies, sah,” he said taking a seat. “Now where was I? Ah, yes, sah – while some otters believe that River King Sirus’s decline in health was due to a longstanding head injury from battle with a pike many seasons prior, others suspect foul play may have been involved.
   “River King Sirus had two heirs, brothers named Prince Ahote and Prince Ohanko. Where the conflict began, sah, was during the onset of illness for Sirus, as, interestingly enough, Prince Ahote also became terribly ill. Shortly after his father’s death, it was suspected that Prince Ahote would also die. Ohanko then approached the high council and asked if he could ascend to the throne. The council agreed, but on the condition that Ohanko must wait for Ahote’s death. Miraculously, Ahote recovered from his illness, then immediately accused his brother of treason – claiming that Ohanko must have poisoned and killed their father as well as poisoned himself. A divide was made in the community. Some believed that it was suspicious both River King Sirus and Prince Ahote fell ill at the same time, and Prince Ohanko asked for the crown without being the sole heir. Others believed that Ohanko was acting within the best interest of the tribe. One thing, however, was clear – treason was committed. Either Ohanko tried to kill his father and brother, or Ahote lied about the attempt to poison him in order to banish Ohanko and assure his own place on the throne. Anger and tensions grew unhindered until distinct factions beneath each brother were founded. While there has been no violence yet, civil war is imminent if no action is taken, M’Lord.”
   “And what of the dam, Runner Northock? Why was it constructed?”
   “It is dictated in the laws of the Wunpaw culture, sah, that the river can only flow under the rule of a River King. While both sides of the clan vehemently disagree with one another under almost all circumstances, something that the Wunpaw tribe holds very dear to themselves is their founding laws. Until a successor is chosen to become the new River King, both sides agreed that no water would be allowed to flow, so they diverted the river and built a dam.”
   “Where was the river diverted?”
   “I spotted a large cave that runs underground with some easily distinguished channels dug from there to the river. I suspect that it is being used to divert the river.”
   Barbourn thought for a brief moment. Runner Northock watched the giant creature’s paw claws tap rhythmically on the knotted surface. “Did you take any action yourself in this situation? I hope that you explained that by depleting the levels of the River Moss, other settlements under my protection would be put at risk.”
   “M’Lord, I did all that I could, but the Wunpaw are a stubborn lot – even for river otters, wot. My credentials gave me a hearing with the elders, but not a single creature would take instruction from me so long as I was not a – ah, what was it they said? A ‘beast born of the water’ sah.”
   “They don’t want to listen to you because you are not an otter, Runner Northock?”
   “Yes, M’Lord.”
   “What about me? Do they not know that you are an ambassador of Salamandastron?”
   “I’m afraid they would not hear even from you, M’Lord. Their culture has all sorts of twists an’ turns an’ I was only there for a few days. Perhaps they would hear from you if the situation was not so dire for them, sah. They’ve made sure that they are well grounded in their tradition.”
   For nearly half a minute, the runner waited patiently as Lord Barbourn sat in hard concentration. “From what you could gather, how much time do you think we have before a civil war erupts?”
   The runner paused for a moment in thought. He dared not break form in front of the Badger Lord for a more comfortable posture. “It is imminent, sah. It could very well be happening now.”
   Lord Barbourn gave a sigh and grabbed a goblet of wine from a nearby table. He went to sip it, but stopped himself short and set it back down with another sigh. “Well,” he said “then there is no time to lose.” Barbourn traversed the room and whipped open the great oaken door at the end. The attendant on the other side of the door nearly fell forward, having lost the surface he was leaning against. Quickly picking himself up and standing at a stiff attention, the attendant gave a salute.
   “What can I do fer ye, M’Lord?”
   “Corporal, are there any patrols currently available for dispatch?”
   The corporal reached into his coat pocket and pulled out the ever expanding master list. “Ah yes, let’s see, sah,” he murmured “hmm, I’m afraid none are due back for quite a while still, sah. The soonest is Captain Tussock, who is away on tour – he shouldn’t be back for at least a week by these estimates.”
   Barbourn gritted his teeth, “What about cadets and privates?”
   “My Lord, with all due respect, the mountain simply does not have the able-bodied beasts it needs to send another patrol. The cadets need more training, they are not yet prepared for any kind of job that would put them in danger and I must stand by that, sah… er, that is, most humbly, M’Lord.”
   “Thank you, Corporal, that will be all for now. Runner, Northock, you are dismissed! Go down to the kitchens for double-rations. You’ve earned it.” Lord Barbourn watched the runner throw a stiff salute and run off down the corridor like a flash of lightning. Shutting the door, Lord Barbourn returned to his great map at the far end of the forge room. Pins, representing patrol units, hot spots, outlaw sightings and a host of other information, protruded from all angles and locations around the country like it were a pin cushion. The isolated problems throughout the land were numerous, and while at one time his hares were more numerous, seasons of keeping the countryside safe had done a number on Lord Barbourn’s numbers. That dam would create great consequences for the rest of the settlements along the lower River Moss. A Civil War would undoubtedly prolong the drought for too long. No matter what, that dam needed to come down – and peacefully. If Lord Barbourn himself were to march inland and tear away the dam, it would cause unrest among the other settlements and lose the Long Patrol a great deal of honor and trust. As the evening shadows lengthened across the shore of Mossflower, the badger looked to the West. The setting sun behind the Western Mountains gave the impression that the land on the other side was in flames.


   Every time night came in the dangerous north section of the Western Mountains, Carmen could feel a twinge of panic trying to overtake her. Panic not necessarily due to the scenery, but rather the constant threats which the dangerous mountain range possessed. Rumors from this part of the world never seemed friendly: rapidly changing weather (which Carmen had already experienced), bandits, the dreaded Sazaar – a tribe of mountain hares turned dangerous cult and wielders of magic – and, most recently, tales of a mysterious giant roaming the region. Carmen believed that she may have spotted the giant in the mist after the storm. More of a shadow, really, and that could have been made by anything. But it did stand out and it did appear rather giant-like. Perhaps she had avoided it without even knowing.
   The weather was pleasant as the sun set. A round, tangerine sun cast light on a new batch of clouds over Carmen’s shoulder. Red and orange light blended together and contrasted rounded shadows at peculiar angles on the clouds, which gave them their tall, cotton-balled shape. There were no other clouds in the sky aside from the ones on the horizon. Looking about, the full spectrum of colors was present in the sky. Right at horizontal, there was red. Moving upward, the light faded to orange and yellow, then the slightest row of green light – really only distinguishable if one were looking for it – then blue for a great deal of the arc moving up towards vertical. Finally, right as one approached vertical, the sky appeared darker. If one thought about it, really it was like the last two colors of the rainbow: indigo and violet. This seemed to calm Carmen down a bit and the panic left her. However, a few minutes later when the colored sky was gone and night began to descend onto her, it returned.
   At least the pretty clouds did not go away. In fact, they came inland and swept over the mountains just as quickly as the squall that same day. They even brought rain with them; an unbelievably poor stroke of luck. Keeping her head down, Carmen pressed onward through the brush, oblivious to the creature that followed not ten paces behind.


   All kinds of sounds bombarded Lance Corporal Carmen O’Foster Bobo as she bowled headlong deeper into the mountain range. Every bird that startled from its nest was another bandit out to get her. Was that rustle of the leaves from the wind, or was that the Sazaar that had found the lone hare? The ghostly trees stretched their branches out to Carmen’s long ears as she ran by, scratching and swiping in the wind. Carmen ran aimlessly, desperate to find shelter away from the environment, even more desperate than she was to find the missing patrol. This was an entirely new kind of fear, different from that of the squall earlier that day. This time, the young hare could feel herself running away from something. Taking a sudden turn around an oak tree much too fast, Carmen slipped and fell to the ground. She clumsily pulled herself over to the trunk and sat with her back against the bark. While Carmen was not hurt, she knew it would not take long for that to change if she kept up with her erratic pacing. Deep breaths. Remember basic training, remember basic training… she thought to herself, Long Patrol Code of Conduct entry number three: All Long Patrol hares should know that staying calm in a dangerous situation is a critical step on the road to victory. A glimpse at her parade uniform, soaked through and ripped in a few places, reminded Lance Corporal Bobo that this was what she had signed up to do. Working her way up the tree trunk, Carmen stood and pulled out her scouting knife. Though thought again and instead pulled out her iron frying pan. It would not be smart to run around with a blade if she was slipping all over the place. And the frying pan could at least function as a shield from the rain.
   There came another sound. This time it was not nature playing tricks on her – not a tree shaking in the rain, nor the wind howling through the trees. Carmen was certain of it: she had just heard a creature grunt. It sounded close to her ears, and it seemed to come from right where she was standing with her paw on the oak tree’s trunk, clear as anything. It was a short grunt, but undeniably, in every sense of the word, a grunt.
Somebeast was nearby.
What it was, Carmen did not know. She moved away from the tree trunk and held out the frying pan as if it were a broadsword. She scanned the nearby shrubbery for movement: nothing. Side to side, front and back, Carmen looked three-hundred and sixty degrees around herself. There! Some shrubs directly in front of the young hare’s line of sight began to move. Carmen did not take a moment to consider whether or not this was simply the wind picking back up again, but regardless of that, she brought the frying pan up and over her head in preparation to strike at the brush.
The Bobo family is made up of a long line of hares at Salamandastron. All of whom are notable for their levelheadedness, tactfulness, and service, but possibly most notable for their awkward lanky builds and clumsiness. In this exact moment as Carmen was preparing to charge at the shrub in front of her, the frying pan in her paws, wet from the rain, slipped away from her, sailed overhead, and went into the branches of the oak tree.
Ping! Thud!
   A thin rat fell away from one of the lower branches in the oak tree, along with an already growing lump between his ears and Lance Corporal Bobo’s frying pan. To say the very least, young Carmen was surprised. Not because there actually was somebeast nearby, but because it was in the very last place she would have thought to looked: the branches of the oak tree. Keeping caution, Carmen grabbed the rope from the top of her haversack and tied the rat up (or, one may reasonably argue that the more appropriate description would be ‘wrapped the rat up in so much rope that it resembled a cocoon with a bow’), then slung him over her shoulder, picked up her frying pan, and waved it about menacingly at the empty bush blowing in the wind. “If you even think o’ comin’ after me, I’ll thwack you jus’ the same, wot!” She then hurried through the brush in the opposite direction in search of shelter.

 on: Today at 07:40:59 PM 
Started by Izeroth - Last post by Grond
Artificial leather is a recent invention, though, isn't it?

I believe snake and shark skins were used for leather, but that may be the only source that wouldn't have the good guys go against their moral code. (No killing.)

Apart from snake, shark and eel skins, they could also use fish skins as a source of leather. On a few different occasions Redwallers do kill fish to eat them so the skin maybe a by-product and source of leather. It would also be the easiest source of leather to come by.

There was actually some guy on a show that I saw that was making leather products from walleye skins and selling them, so it is feasible too...

 on: Today at 07:39:50 PM 
Started by Osu - Last post by Nadaz, voice of the host
I don't know what the language was called but in Mattimeo the tree rats communicate in whistles and shreiks

 on: Today at 07:26:57 PM 
Started by Nadaz, voice of the host - Last post by Nadaz, voice of the host
Does anyone here make costumes?
ps. do you no how to attach photos wanted to show my Ruggan Bor costume.

 on: Today at 05:44:02 PM 
Started by Delthion - Last post by Ashleg
*Eats Mashed Potato*

 on: Today at 05:43:41 PM 
Started by Ashleg - Last post by Ashleg

 on: Today at 05:30:54 PM 
Started by Ashleg - Last post by Matthias720

Wait, hang on...



 on: Today at 04:52:45 PM 
Started by Søren - Last post by Ashleg


 on: Today at 04:52:23 PM 
Started by Ashleg - Last post by Ashleg
Okay! Characters and what they're doing.
(A spoiler, because it's likely long.)
(click to show/hide)

Skarzs, I'll PM you details still, on who these are and everything. Don't flip out.

 on: Today at 04:38:54 PM 
Started by Søren - Last post by MeadowRabbit

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