>> Friday, September 3, 2010
Samolus tweaked the young mouse's ear. "Excuse me, who's telling this tale, me or you?" Smilingly, the Abbot corrected him. "Lady Columbine, I think, friend. You're only the reader."
The otter confided in a low, urgent tone, "I gotta ship up there, ready to set sail right away. I'm goin' on a trip until this rain stops an' I finds a rainbow. But I need a crew-anybeast knows where a pore skipper can find strong, trusty beasts?" There was an immediate clamour of volunteers. A moment later, Rorgus was labouring up the stairs, laden down by his clinging crew. Abbot Glisam, who had overheard everything, smiled as he watched them go. "I think our Skipper should keep them amused. You know, I'm not sure who enjoys that otter's games more, him or the Dibbuns."
"It's a message, cleverly designed by Gonff. We've got to be just as clever to solve it."
He waggled his long ears at Brother Torilis. "An' you, mah friend, practice smilin', but watch yore face doesnae crack an' fall off!"
Silent as a breeze wending amidst grave-stones, they drifted inside.
It was not a jig for the faint-hearted.
A Painted One ventured out onto the ledge, loading a dart into a hollow blowpipe. He leered wickedly at Bosie. "Yikahee, getcher now, rabbet, Gadik never misses!" A chunk of limestone struck him on the neck. He gave a choking gurgle, and plunged headlong into the pit. Samolus's voice called out cheerily, "I never miss, either, scum. Step up, who's next?"
Skipper grasped Bosie's free paw. "Here's me heart an' here's me word, mate, we're with ye!"
Dubble laughed nervously. "If'n ye see any twinklin' lights tryin' to lead us someplace, ignore 'em mate, they're trouble." Bisky gripped his friend's paw firmly. "They're worse than trouble, mate, they're Wytes."
"I'm Tugga Bruster, Log a Log of the Northstream Guosim, an' I'm here to ask ye a question!" Skipper immediately decided that he did not like either the tone or the manner of Tugga Bruster. He hurried forward, placing himself in front of Glisam. "Ahoy, bully, ye can ask wot questions ye like, but there won't be any answers until yore manners improve!" Tugga Bruster held his club forward threateningly. "Out o' me way, riverdog, I ain't talkin' to you!" Skipper whirled like lightning; his thick rudder struck the shrew's paws, knocking the iron club from his grasp. It rang out, like a hammer striking an anvil, as it hit the floor. Skipper clenched his paws. "Well, I'm Rorgus Skipper o' the Mossflower Otters, an' I'm talkin' to you, watermouse!"
Umfry was curious about the Guosim way of life, which Marul tried to give him a flavour of.
"Nothin' wrong wid stealin', long as yer don't get caught."
"Lissen, mouth almighty, Painty Ones are our mortal foes, so anybeast who's an enemy o' them is a friend o' mine, see!"