>> Monday, November 23, 2009
"When blood of weak meets blood of strong,/ Reap the whirlwind you have sown,/ Beware the lightning summer mark,/ Of one whom you have known./ To the Lord who scorns all pity,/ Open wide Dark Forest Gate,/ There a little flower awaits,/ One day to seal your fate."
"Each of us is born to follow a star, be it bright and shining or dark and fated. Sometimes the paths of these stars will cross, bringing love or hatred. However, if you look up at the skies on a clear night, Out of all the countless nights that twinkle and shine, there will come one. That star will be seen in a blaze, burning a path of light across the roof of the earth, a great comet. Think on these words as my tale unfolds. Mayhap you will learn something valuable, not about stars, but of the value friendship brings."
"I am the messenger of Death and fate. I see visions in the stars, the wind, and the eyes of many!" Greenclaw had heard enough. Drawing his sword, he came at the vixen. "Did your visions tell that you'd end up dead today?"
"Arm not alas sand, 'way south in the west,/ So star land a mat, there's where I love best,/ Sand not as alarm, lone seabirds do wing,/ And alas most ran, list' to me whilst I sing."
He hung on to the turning limb, shouting, "Stop! Stop! What do you want?" The big eel sank back and, wrapping itself around the hawser, it pulled with the others as it answered, "Want you..."
"When I was just a little beast,/ I was so small an' weak,/ I'd often fall flat on me tail,/ An' I could 'ardly speak./ I scarce could totter round the floor,/ Me whiskers used to droop,/ 'Til granma made a great big pot/ Of good ole 'otroot soup!"
"I am Swarrt Sixclaw, Warlord of this horde!" Balefur looked away insolently as if dismissing him. "Aye, so ah've heard, what else is new, ferret?"
"Oh, 'Twas all in the summertime,/ Our hearts did sadly grieve,/ The searats stole up in the night,/ And with our babes did leave."
"Ooooh! Plip plop, hear the water drop,/ And larks take wing as the buds go pop!/ And the sun do shine as the birds do sing,/ Throw open wide the gates of spring!"
"Cut the cake, cut the cake,/ Cut the cake for goodness sake,/ Me an' my mate have each got a plate,/ An' here we have to sit an' wait./ So cut the cake, say the grace,/ Let's get cream upon me face,/ An' sticky paws as a slice I take,/ Oh cut that cake for goodness sake!"
"I never asked your species, hare, er, squirrel, I asked your name! What is it?" The squirrelhare leapt to a higher branch, missed it, and fell flat on the ground in front of Sumin. "You don't want to know!" he said. "Yes, I do!" "Oh, all right, then. M' name is Wilthurio Longbarrow Sackfirth Toxophola Fedlric Fritillary Wilfrand Hurdleframe Longarrow Leawelt Pugnacio Cinnabar Hillwether..." "Stop, stop! You were right, I don't want to know!"
"Come on now, don't go sulkin' an' mopin', apologize t'me like a goodbeast an' ask me fer mercy." He kicked the Captain, sending him sprawling on the road. Muggra spat earth as he whimpered, "Mercy, Lord, I was wrong to argue with yer!" Swarrt laughed harshly, stepping on Mugra's back as he passed him. "Get out o' me sight, y' snivellin' craven, an' thank yer lucky stars I'm in a good mood t'day!"
"Oh we chased 'em off the highway,/ They fled off to the west,/ We sent 'em every whichway,/ Our warriors are the best./ They'll never see ole Redwall,/ 'Cos they were forced to flee,/ Sent on their way by shaft 'n' stone/ From every greenwood tree."
"Just before I slew him, my old father used to have a saying: "Where fate is sealed on battle's field,/ And many low are laid,/ The wisest mind stays behind,/ And let the fools get slayed!"
Give him a name and leave him awhile,/ Veil may live to be evil and vile,/ Though I hope my prediction will fail,/ And evil so vile will not live in Veil.
"Veil, you must go now. I declare you Outcast!" a cry like that of a wounded animal broke the silence. Byrony dashed forward, trying to get hold of the young ferret. "No, no! Not my Veil. Please, let him stay. I'll look after him, he'll change, you'll see, I'll talk to him...!"
Veil looked stunned as Jodd cut the bonds from his paws, and he stared at the old badger on the steps, crying, "What about me? I've got no family, I'm alone. What'll I do?" Seizing the ferret's paws in a vicelike grip, Skipperjo brought his face close and said through gritted teeth, "Little Sixclaw the poisoner, eh? I knowed who you was, matey, from the day I picked you up suckin' frogspawn in a muddy ditch! Yore the whelp of that other six-clawed vermin, Swarrt the Warlord. Aye, the one who's over at Salamandastron mountain right now, fightin' the great badger lord. Why don't yer travel over thatways, due west and through the mountains, they say, an' take a look at some real slayin', or would 'onest warfare be too noble for a sneakin' poisoner!" Then, dragging Veil by both paws, the big otter lugged him through the gateway and flung him on the path. "Go an' work your evil someplace else, scum!"
Inside on the lawn, Bella and the Abbess held Byrony close between them as she pleaded, wept, and begged for them to give Veil one last chance-Veil, the ferret she had reared and loved from a babe, despite all his evil ways.
Sunflash smiled at Sundew. "Afraid, missie?" he asked. She looked up at the Badger Lord, his golden stripe showing through the open visor of a high black war helmet, massive chest covered by a fine chain-mail tunic, and the great mace balanced easily over his broad shoulder. "Not while you're around, Sire!" she said.
Gasping for breath, he pleaded for his life, "Sirrah, a boon, a boon, spare me!" There was no mercy in the face of the Long Patrol Captain. He knocked the rapier to one side and thrust forward with the curving sabertip. "You ask for mercy, ferret? You who moments ago whipped a wounded creature with your blade! Tchah! You have lived the life of a coward, now learn t'die like a soldier, sir!"
"Why do creatures have to have wars and kill one another? Why can't everybeast live in peace and be contented? I was just thinkin' before you came in, Sire, Fordpetal won't ever see another summer day or laugh an' smile again. Why?"
Togget was snoring gently and Byrony's eyes were beginning to droop when she heard a deep bass voice singing: "One day in spring I said to me wife,/ 'Though we're close together as fork 'n' knife,/ An' I've loved y'dearly all of me life,/ Still I'll have to follow the wateeeeeeeer!' "
"We may have the numbers, but they've got the heart!"
Byrony felt the shaft of the javelin strike her hard across her back. She was knocked flat. "Hahah! Gotcher mouse! What're y'doin' 'ere?" Swarrt seized her roughly and dragged the mousemaid upright. Sunflash was coughing and gagging on the liquid trapped in his throat as Veil came racing around the fire. "Yer scummy liddle sneak, you was tryin' to set 'im loose!" Swarrt roared. Veil struck Swarrt hard in the face, tearing the captive from his grasp. "Byrony, get out of 'ere. Run!"
"Right y'are, Bella marm, y'know what I always say: 'Apples is ripe when they're ready,/ When pears is ripe they'll fall,/ What must happen will happen,/ Or it won't happen at all!'"
"Home returning, home returning,/ Comes the warrior from the war,/ Home returning, home returning,/ Home to wander nevermore!"
"Is the tale finished? Oh, rats! I wanted it to go on an' on an' jolly well on f'rever!"
"There's bread an' cheese upon the shelf, want another story, tell it y'self."