The Moment to Live and The Moment to Die (Flitz)

"Aye, if you're smart like me maybe one day you can 'ave yer own hoard. Til then, keep snatching up more mice n jumpers!"

"Aye aye captain!"


Flitz graciously accepted Jarrets hand and held it tight, terrified for their life and everyone else's. She followed him wherever he lead her, not wanting to lose sight of him. It would only take one leap to escape, but she knew there was nowhere to escape to, and she didn't want to leave Jarret behind.  Either they were going to get captured, or suffocate to death in the tunnels. Bodies of dibbuns, their tiny little lungs unable to handle the smoke, already littered the ground. Whatever their fate was, they were going to meet it together.

_"They're trying to smoke us out."_

"WHAT!?" In this dry and arid climate one loose spark could set the whole savannah ablaze, an unchecked untamed fire was ludicrously dangerous! Truly they were dealing with madbeasts! Chaos was erupting among the unruly subterannean inhabitants, and suddenly Jarret was lost to the crowd.

"JARRET! JARRET!" Flitz abandoned her satchel and crawled through the masses on all fours, her keen nightvision never once losing sight of her target. "I'M COMING JARRET! STAY PUT!" A strong pair of paws shoved through the crowd and in a moment they would be grasped firmly about his shoulders. "Jarret it's me!  Take this!" A long fleshy appendage with a tuft of fur on the tip was placed into Jarret's paws. Flitz tail was easily twice the length of her body, and would make a good rope in a pinch. "Hold onto my tail! Don't let go! Do you understand!?" She unwound the necklace from around her neck and tucked it away into her inner vest pocket and held the skinning knife tight. "I'm going to get us out of here! Hold on!"

Above ground, the long line of chains was being fitted with new slaves as more and more villagers poured out of the tunnels to breath. Ratel howled his victory into the air.

"HAHA LOOKIT THEM ALL BUCKOS! WITH THIS MANY SLAVES PULLING OUR OARS THE SHIP WILL FLY THROUGH THE WATERS!"

A familiar set of paws landed on his shoulders and Jarret felt rush of relief when seeing Flitz face. He tried to say something, but just ended up coughing badly.

"But - but we can't go… to the surface...", half-mouse tried, but was interrupted as Flitz placed her tail on his paws, gesturing him to get up. Clearly jumber wasn't going to listen the arguments and honestly they were short of choices already. It was either die here in the smoke or try their chances in the surface. Even with the risk of pirates.

Fingers barely working properly Jarret grabbed Flitz's tail tight and half-mouse rose up, being now the one who was guided through the smoke. Jarret wondered, which one was actually doing the recuing here... From the day they had first met he had always, always wanted to protect Flitz but somehow she beat him to it, ending to be the one look after him (sometimes very motherly-like which bit annoyed Jarret).

You would expect a frail framed jumber, with her long slender legs, to be the one who needed help and rescuing in dire situations... Well, Flitz took those beliefs and showed  them down in your throat. She didn't need someone to come and rescue her - she was the one who came rescue YOU. Whatever you liked it or not.

That was the thing - Flitz had never been like other town-girls. She was bossy and more scurrilous than most of the towns' boys with zero tolerance towards them who said something bad about her or someone she cared for. She would never be the tale's lady-in-distress - she was one with the bad temper who was ready to jump in the action and smack some sense in those, who in her option deserved it.

Looking at Flitz back, Jarret tried to cover his mouth with his free arm. He already was feeling dizzy from the smoke. It hurt his eyes and he couldn't see clear. Were they on the right path? Did they make wrong turn somewhere?...

"Hoy! Ees anybody thurr? Can ee heer me?"
Jarret's head perked up in sound of that familiar voice and he halted - making Flitz stop as well, as he was holding tightly her tail. Jarret would recognize that dialect even cotton stuffed in your ears.
"Master Beech!", Jarret called, as loud as he could,  looking around. "Master Beech, over here!"

"Jarret?", the voice responded and only couple moments later from the thick smoke emerged Billet Beech's sturdy figure. His voice was muffled because he spoke through scar wrapped around his pointy snout. He was wearing odd pair off goggles protecting his eyes and in his strong arms he was carrying small mouse dibbun.

"An' lil' miz Kalitz too! - Thunk guudness youm' both alrighty!", clumsily the blacksmith tried hold the little mouse better in his arms. The little one was unconscious and clearly not well at all.
"No time t' tally - Ee all need som' gudd air breethe in. Thurr'm safe place neer, foller me", he gestured both of them follow.

"An' keep yore heeds down, yurr youngsters - ee air is eesier breethe neerer the floor"

"But - but we can't go… to the surface..."

There was no real rescue mission. This was a gamble, a 50/50 chance of dying, and Flitz would be damned if they were both going to be suffocated beneath the dirt. She held tight to her skinning knife and pressed onward. If she were to die, she'd like to have a slim fighting chance.

Jarret had been a good friend to her all these years, he was a good beast through and through, regardless of what sort of beast he may or may not have been. They were two completely different people, Flitz frail body built for flight, and Jarrets large frame and heavy claws built for fight. Beneath the tunnels, they had a chance at neither. She knew Jarret cared deeply for her and would do his damndest to rescue her in this sort of scenario.

They looked out for eachother. They were friends, that's what friends do. Jarret was caring and thoughtful despite the whispers among town, and she wanted desperately for them to escape, but for that they'd need nothing short of a miracle, and it arrived in a stour furry package with long claws.

She heard a deep rustic bass voice and felt a tug at her tail, causing her to stop promptly. It was Jarret's teacher Billet Beech, who seemed perfectly prepared for the scenario, as moles always were. He carried an unconscious infant in his humongous paws. The situation couldn't be any more dire.

Flitz did as she was bidden and lay low, crawling along the ground where the smoke was thinner, and hastily followed the mole, glancing back only to see if her friend was still behind her.


On the surface, Ratel's crew were trying up the last of their captives. The crowds were thinning out now, less and less people poured out of the entrances, and the crew was growing impatient.

"Don't suppose any more of em are gonna pop up now cap'n. Can we goes in the tunnels now?"

"Wait til the smoke clears, then you can grab whatcher please."

(The rest is up to you to get us to the surface and fight Ratel. I'll play Ratel.)

Jarret followed, trying to hold on Flitz's tail as hard as he could. In the smoke it was impossible to judge the time which passed (as it felt like eternity when you were dying for the freah air), so the half-mouse dind't know how far they had gotten before he heard master Beech's muffled voice again:

"Hurr - we'm ar' thurr.. Hold 'er furr a moment", master Beech turned and placed mouse-kid on Flitz's arms, as he himself turned towards the tunnel's wall, starting to scoop the soil with his big claws. At the first Jarret thought master Beech was going to dig an actual tunnel, but that wasn't the case. Since there already was the one, after master Beech had moved away the earth, which had covered its entrance.

"Thurr 'ee go", the blacksmith gestured youngsters to the tunnel. It was small, enough room to go on your hands and knees, if you were a mouse. 
"Miz' Kalitz, 'ee go furts.  Jarret, help 'er take lil' lass with 'er… Quickly now before ee smoke gits in. Oi will close ee hole arter uz"

Jarret helped Flitz to get the dibbun in the tunnel and after that followed them right behind. For him it was a bit cramped, for he was a bigger than average  mouse, but he could crawl... And luckily he didn't need to crawl long, as soon the small tunnel ended in large room.

It was Master Beech's home-hole - they had emerged from the mole-made hole in the wall. And why master Beech had decided to use a narrow crawling-tunnel instead of the door, could be seen quite clearly: the whole  front-door was covered with the soil, the dirt sealing all small cracks and slits where the smoke could crawl in. With that master Beech's home was well secured from the smoke - the air in there was a bit warm, but breathable.

And quick look around revealed that Jarret and Flitz - and small mouse-dibbun - weren't the only ones visiting here. Across the floor there were sitting or laying exhausted villagers, both big and small, young and old, all of them looking like worse for wear.

Jarret wasn't that surprised seeing that many beast in here... After all master Beech was a mole who just wouldn't sit on his tail when he knew there were somebody needing a help. Apparently, right after the blacksmith had realized what was going on, he had made his home safe from the smoke and then had headed out to the corridors, starting to gather all survivors he could find, bringing them here.

Okay, I shall taka the reins tehn... 🙂 Still, there is couple of ways get our alts to the surface... They could be chased there after Ratel's troops raid the village. Or they could go try to free captured villagers (Jarret is reckless enough try just that xD). Which option you'd prefer? ^^ And of course if you have ideas of your own, I'd like to hear them.

Flitz followed Master Beech's path and stopped at a dead end. If she knew anything about moles though, she knew there was more to it. She relieved Master Beech of the small child he was carrying, holding it close to her while he went to work and was thrilled to find him uncover a secret tunnel. How long it had been there she'd never know, moles had always been resourceful crafty creatures.

"Miz' Kalitz, 'ee go furts.  Jarret, help 'er take lil' lass with 'er… Quickly now before ee smoke gits in. Oi will close ee hole arter uz"

Ladies first. Billet wasn't short on manners. "Here, hold her will you?" Flitz handed Jarret the child and wiggled through the tunnel with difficulty, struggling to fit her long gangly limbs in, emerging through the other end with a pop and a thud. She reached her arms through the hole and scooped up the child so that her friend could crawl in.

She found herself in a small tunnel, and crawled awkwardly along it until she was standing in a large chamber. The room was full of villagers hiding to escape the smoke, and judging by the furnishings, was also Master Beech's home.

While they were scrambling around in a panic, the industrious mole was rescuing villagers and sheltering them in his own home.

"Oh mister Beech!" Flitz exclaimed, taking long gulps of air. She felt safe now, and let the dibbun go, stretching her long limbs and clearing her lungs of the smoke. "Thank you so much! Do you suppose we could hide here until those nasty vermin leave?"


Ratel had his crew put out the fires and clear the smoke out. There weren't any more villagers coming out of their holes, and he had already amassed a handsome line of new galley slaves.

"Alright boys, in you go! Take whatever you can find and report back to me you hear?"

The crew cheer and raced into the tunnels for the chance at finding treasure. Ratel smiled, he doubted a humble little village like this would have anything of value, if they did, he certainly wouldn't be sharing it.

One of the crew members returned carrying armfuls of weaponry. "Look Captain! These people have a smithy full of weapons, and just look how fine they are!"

"Perfect! Dish them out to the crew and let them have their pick, all of you could use a new toy."

Elsewhere homes were robbed of their silverware, fine silks, and family heirlooms. Ratel was surprised by what they actually found, but being generous always strengthened the loyalty of his crew and lessened the chance of deserters. Besides, he could steal it from them later if he wanted it bad enough.

Beneath the tunnels, all the vermin were finding were dead bodies. They pushed the corpses aside and kept searching, gossiping amongst eachother.

"Huh, lookit this sorry lot. That's what you get for muckin around under the dirt like a bunch of filthy moles."

"Funny though aint it, all of them underground and not a one of them is actually a mole."

"Strange isnt it? I couldnt stand living like this, give me an open sea any day over all this dirt."

"Stow the gab, you hear that mate?"

"Hear what?"

"Voices!"

"There aint a soul alive down here, your head is playing tricks on you."

"No I swears, listen!"

The rat stood quietly for awhile. "Doesn't sound like anything to me, but we'll go take a look anyway if ti makes ye feel better ye big scaredy cat."

The sound of the large group of vermin kept getting closer and closer. In the other room, Flitz held her breath and hoped the vermin would pass over them.

"Nothing here but dirt."

"Go on give it a shove."

"Shove it yourself, you're not the boss of me!"

A long rat like face protruded out of the wall in Master Beech's home. "Ha! Lookit them here, havin a lil party and they didn't think to invite ol' Scumtripe. Get em lads!"

Gotta love the way you portray those pirates xD And sorry for the delay – this took muck more time to wrote as I expected....

"We'm goin' t' be hookay, doan't worrie miz Kalitz", the mole assured, lifting his goggles up his forehead and lowering the scarf. The blacksmith had ash-grey stripes on his face in the areas which weren't covered with the cloth. " 'dose vurmints won't foind uz frumm yurr"

"They will", spoke a hoearse voice suddenly and an older mouse, his pelt silvered by the age, stepped forward. "That's why we have to get to the escape routes. If we sit here on our tails, they'll sooner or later find us."

Master Beech shook his head, his face grim. Jarret, who had known his master for long time know, could read the frustration from moles usually so calm composure.
"Meester Chewnut", the mole said with strained patience. It seemed like this conservation had been repeated more than once. "Smoke's thick an' everywhurr. Vents can't git'n eet all out as long 'dose scums keep the foirs up. Goin' out thurr b'ain't save...."

"That?s one more thing I'd like to voice out", mister Chewnut said in loud voice. "How they realized use the smoke? How they even knew about us?", the mouse sounded almost hysterical now. "I say, someone must have tipped them off..." The mouse didn't add anything more, but he gave very clear and suspicious glare at Jarret's direction that it didn't went unnoticed ny anybeast..

Jarret just stood there, feeling like all his limbs had just turned into a stone. He couldn't move, he couldn't say a thing - he couldn?t even think too clearly. All he managed to do was to stare mister Chewnut and his nasty glare, suddenly feeling more than just one eye-pair on him.

Billet Beech on the other hand looked like he was about to explode. His face was so red from the anger, that not even his black fur couldn't hide it all.
"Mister Chewnut", the mole said with all the patience he could still muster. "Oi understand you'm affrighted as are we'm all. But pliz stop spoutin' nonsense. Nobeast livin' in 'dish village wudden do such a thing"

And before difficult elderly could say something that really would make mole toss him outside, Billet Beech turned towards Flitz.
"Miz Kalitz, could you koindly hand out som' water furr all of uz? A small sip t' wash daown ee nasty taste o' smoke. You can foind ee water-vat 'dere in ee corner, cups in ee cupboard - an' ask som'beast help you"

Then the mole-smith called  the half-mouse, gesturing him to follow.
"Jarret? Coom yourr furr a moment.."

Jarret felt almost relieved when master Beech called for him, young half-mouse tip-toeing past the staring eyes like he was walking over eggshells.


Right after he had heard the muffled corsairs' voices, Billet Beech had grabbed his battle-hammer which were hanging on the wall like some kind of memento. Jarret hadn't ever seen master Beech touch that giant hammer before - nor had he ever seen the blacksmith move so swiftly, as he did when the rat's head emerged from the tunnel. With quick leap mole was in front of vermin,  the weapon raised over his head  and swinging it right down.

The hammer fell hard and crushed the rat's skull as easy as if it was a chestnut. The beast died immediately.
"Ev'ryone! Git'n to back-tunnel!", master Beech shouted, lifting his weapon again as the villagers started 
"Jarret, git'n 'dem out of yiurr now!"


At the North End tunnels a boards of the corridor's walkway were pushed out from their places, revealing a hole underneath them. Only a moment after Jarret's head popped out from the hole, as the half-mouse scanned the corridor's both ends, listening and looking for any sight of the danger.

But at least at the moment he wound none and letting out relieved sigh he reached for the edge and hurrily climbed up. The hole wasn't a deep one, not for him anyway, so it was easy for him.

"Quickly now - head for the escape route and don't close it before every one is passed...", Jarrret whispered, as he turned towards the villagers, that came pouring out of the hole. Some climbed out on their own (for jumbers it was easy jump to make) and some needed the assistance reach the edge...  Jarret tried to offer his help, but it seemed like no-one wanted it (or rather, they turned away from it). So the half-mouse let his hand drop and instead focused to keep watch-out, his paw resting on the sword's handle.

Yes, he had a sword now... Master Beech had handed it to him when he had followed the mole out of the large room where the villagers resided.
_"Oi was plannin' to give et when yurr big day comes, but oi may as well give et now", the mole said, as he placed the weapon on Jarret hands, smiling a bit sadly.  "Happy birthday, laddo… Oi wasn't expecting you might need et at ee same day you'd receive it", the blacksmith sounded remorseful. "But you need

"Second thing ees 'dis" Billet Beech continued as he pushed a door open. What Jarret had expect to be closed or pantry, turned to be a dark long tunneld behind the wooden door. 
"Molers never put their trust just one tunnel" master Beech explained, as he pulled the door shut."'Dis will leed you t'  Norff  End Corridors, not too fur frumm 'dat aree's escape route." Billet Beech spoke now in lowly tone, not wanting aynone else to hear.
"Old mister Chewnut might be roight in un' thing: ee pirates might foind uz... An' iffen eet happens, oi want you to take care ee villager. Oi stay an' handle ee pirates."

"But--", Jarret tried.

"No buts", master Beech interrupted with stern voice and expression, which then softened a bit. "Lukk,  'dey aren't fighters, ee folks over 'dere" Master Beech nodded towards the larger room full of villagers."So et's up to ee strong ones to protect 'dem an' oi can't be in two places at once. So iffen the worst cumms to pass, you leed 'dem out."

"I won't leave you behind"

"You won't. You guard frunt an' I guard rear. An' we'm meet when i caught up wiv you...."_

'When you caught up with us', Jarret thought, as he in turns looked down the corridor and back the tunnel's entrance, praying master Beech really would show up after all the villagers. He wished he could wait there and be sure, but master Beech had given him the duty guard the front. The sword hanging in its scabbard on his belt suddenly felt heavy as if it was resembling the responsibility which he now felt on his shoulders.

At the sound of the voices echoing through the tunnel, Flitz became silent as a ghost. A few reassuring words from Master Beech calmed her somewhat. He was right, they were all going to be okay, the vermin would pass over them, clear the tunnels, and they could return to the surface once they all left. Her heart pounded in her chest and she sat silently. Waiting….waiting....

The sound of an old mouse caused her to jump out of her trance, fur rising on the nape of her neck. The atmosphere in the room was tense, and the mouses conspiracy theories stirred the people in the room into restlessness. She wished he would quiet down, lest the sound of his wailing lead the vermin right to them.

She didn't like what he was insinuating. All eyes in the room turned to Jarret, and she felt her friend would snap under the weight of their accusatory gazes. Quickly she rose from her seat, throwing an arm over her pal Jarret, leading him away from the crowd and whispering in his ear.

"Don't you worry about that one mate, he's gone senile with age."

"Miz Kalitz, could you koindly hand out som' water furr all of uz? A small sip t' wash daown ee nasty taste o' smoke. You can foind ee water-vat 'dere in ee corner, cups in ee cupboard - an' ask som'beast help you"

"Of course!" Flitz clapped her hands together. "Chewnut must be mad with thirst! Jarret would you-"  It seemed Master Beech had other plans for Jarret. She shrugged it off and commandeered the help of a young mouse girl instead.Cups were dished out, and the villagers washed the smoke out of their parched throats with gusto, and Flitz drank greedily as well.

Suddenly a rat poked his head through the tunnel. His head burst like a ripe fruit and Flitz screamed, dropping her cup on the ground with a crash, eyes darting about the room, madly looking for a place to run, but they were trapped.

"Jarret! Jarret!" She lept towards him in a panic, clutching her skinning knife. Her friend was standing near what appeared to be cabinet doors, but revealed yet another escape route when they were swung open.

Thank the heavens for moles.

Villagers poured out of the crowded room and Flitz stood dumbfounded, not sure what to do. She bounced impatiently on the spot, eying the exist and the vermin, wishing everyone would just hurry up so she could escape with Jarret, she wasn't leaving without him and was in quite a hurry to leave, yet some of the villagers seemed apprehensive about accepting help from Jarret.

"Oh for the love of-!" People unwilling to receive Jarret's assistance were shoved unceremoniously through the hole. Once everybody was safe into the escape route, she turned to Jarret and to Master Beech, hoping they were ready to follow suit.

"Jarret!? Beech!? Let's go!!!"


The vermin on the other end of the tunnel weren't so lucky. There was no way for them to all fit through the small opening, and it was easy for Master Beech to pop their tops off one by one as they tried to squeeze in.

"The rotten ol' xxxxxxx killed Scumtripe!"

"Fall back you idiots! He'll slay the lot of us! Widen the opening before they escape!"

Ratel waited on the surface. Something wasn't right, the party searching the tunnels were taking an awful long time. Bending over, he pressed his ear to the earth and listened.

"Ragtag, bring more nets to the entrances, something is going on down there, we might catch more creatures yet."

Last of the jumbers and mouse climbed up from the hidden entrance and it was then when Jarret realized that Flitz wasn't with the last ones. Where was she? She had been next to him when he had opened the back-way's door, but when he had leaded the villagers to the other end of the tunnel, he had lost a sight of her.

Half-mouse turned look at the villagers. They moved so slowly, as many of them were injured or small kids, who couldn't walk by themselves very fast. And there were lots of tunnels ahead, which could be crawling pirates… Jarret bit his lips, for a moment torn by two different forces, but that battle's result was already decided.

Jarret quickly lowered himself over the hole on the walk-way, shouting  as loud as he only dared:
"Flitz! Where are you?"

If the jumper didn't show up after this very moment, he would go back and find her -- he didn't care if he had to go against master Beech's wishes and leave the rest of villagers here alone and unprotected. He wasn't going to leave Flitz behind!


"Oh? Diggin' around ar' ee? Well, dig around 'des!" Billet Beech grabbed his large and heavy table, making it fall on its side and then pushing it against the wall, so that the table's surface was pressed against the hole. It covered the small entrance and a large portion of the wall around it. Pleased at his handiwork Billet Beech patted the furniture's wooden leg.
"Et's a gudd ol' thick oak, ee snitchers - ee just troi t' claw yore way through eet... "
As if an answer the table jolted, moving from its place and blacksmith quickly tossed himself against it, pushing it back to block the hole.

"Hurr, then again - ee maabbe can push et out o' the way", the mole muttered as he leaned back first to the table, holding it firmly against the wall while the vermin behind it were fiercely trying to get in. He needed something barricade this thing in place...

He realized miss Kalitz hand't yet gone with others.
"Hurrr, miz Kalitz, ee better hurry efter others. Ur..."

"Flitz! Where are you!" a muffled voice echoed from back-way tunnel and Billet Beech almost smiled.
"… Ur Jarret will bit off his own tail iffen ee won't show op quick soon."
The table was psuhed again and Billet pushed it back even harder.
"Oi ees comink roight efter ee -- Just go before that steemhead forgets 'bout anythin' else and cumms lookin' furr ee. Hush ee go!"

For a moment the pirates were making some headway with the soil, until the appearance of heavy oak wood impeded their digging. Claws scratched at the wood, but it was no use and the vermin let it go.

"What's the matter with yous?!"

"Cap'n, s'all blocked! No beast can dig through wood."

"Then push you lousy lot, push!"

The vermin hoard pushed and strained, but it felt like some sort of impenetrable force was blocking their exist. Little did they know it was only one mole. Flitz stared dumbfounded at the mole, then back at the escape route, then back at the mole. Jarrets frantic calls could be heard from the tunnel. She was hard pressed for time, and had to make a decision quickly.

"… Ur Jarret will bit off his own tail iffen ee won't show op quick soon."

"But what about you!?"

"Oi ees comink roight efter ee – Just go before that steemhead forgets 'bout anythin' else and cumms lookin' furr ee. Hush ee go!"

By steamhead she knew he meant Jarret. She bid him farewell and leapt into the tunnels, jumping right next to Jarret. "Right here! Come on now let's move!"


The party of distressed villagers hurried their way through the tunnels into freedom, the threat of pursuing villains hot on their heals motivating them to run as fast as their limbs could carry them. Unbeknownst to the sad lot, there were vermin behind and in front of them, and they were making their mad dash straight into  trap.

Jarret and Flitz were leading the party, and Flitz being the faster of the two, was first to leap right into a snare trap. The more she struggled, the more her gangly limbs became tangled in the heavy ropes. More villagers piled into the trap, and the ones that tried to escape were chased down and dragged back to the nets, kicking and screaming.

"Let me go, let me go!" Flitz screamed and struggled. Ratel laughed at the villagers puny attempts at escape.

"HAHAHAHAHAHA. I KNEW SOMETHING WAS UP. That's a sneaky bunch the lot of em! That should be it now, have them fitted with a set up chains and we'll be on our way! Mind the jerboas! One leap is all it takes for them to escape! If that happens I'll have your hides now move it!"

Not wanting to risk letting any prisoners loose, a large stoat dragged the net towards the slave line, where Frisker and Flitz's older sister Frazzle were waiting. Seeing her opportunity, Flitz struck out with her skinning knife and snuck it between his ribs.  She tried to make her escape as the net let loose, but found she was still tangled.

"GRAB THE NET! GRAB IT!"

Not wanting to lose their hides, the crew made for the net and rounded up the prisoners. It wasnt long before Ratel stormed into the fray, grabbing Flitz by the ears, plucking her like a rabbit out of a hat and shaking her violently.

"HARHARHAR! TOUGH ONE AINT YE!?"

ooc: sorry you had to wait so long for this post. The Jarret x Ratel fight'll happen now.

They made it to outside. And whatever was left from their lives in peaceful village, crashed into a chaos.

Nets and robes swung over the air, tangling and capturing the villagers who tried to made the run for their lives. It was like hell had broken loose, all the screaming and shouting, spilled blood on the ground and the fleeing figures trying to get away from the torment that waited the captured.

And devils chasing after them, rounding them up and with evil laughter and vicious sneers dragged them back.

And Flitz just got tangled under one of their nets.

"Fli–-!!" Jarret's shout and attempt to rush young jumper's help was cut short as noose flew around his neck, yanking him backwards and making him almost fell on the ground. His hand grabbing the chocking loop Jarret looked the other end of the rope, staring eye to eye a scar bodied stoat, who seemed to be as surprised as half-breed. Like the corsair hadn't expected a catch like this one.

"What the devil's whiskers --? Aren't yah a rat?" the stoat said, his eyes narrowing suspiciously. After all, till this point all the villagers they had managed to capture were either puny mice or those freaky long-legged jerboas.

Anger fizzed inside Jarret and tried to made a jump on the stoat, but was stopped in middle of it when another rope captured his free hand, pulling to the opposite direction than the one around his neck.
"Got 'im matey -- hold it tight!", the stoat's comrade assured.

Stoat jumped further "Whoa! -- a feisty bugger too!" he said, pulling the rope to keep it tight and growling rat in the control. The  rope dug into Jarret's neck, half-mouse trying to desperately keep it from chocking him. If he only could reach his sword!.. But while the other arm captured, the moment he would let go of the loop around his neck he would be strangled for sure!

"GRAB THE NET! GRAB IT!"

The shout snatched Jarret's attention and among the moving figures he could see vermin rushing to grab the loosened net. And then -  a giant honey badger arrived, stretching his black clawed paw and seizing Flitz up by her ears. Hurting her.

Hurting her.

Jarret's  mind went blank and then it got flamed up by hatred like nothing before. Never ever had he felt so vicious urge to kill an another living beast, and had Jarret been more in his senses, he would have startled this violent feeling which shook him down to his core.  Like hot burning dagger it cut his head free from pain in his neck and carved five flaming words into his mind.

…Don't you dare!

The hand grabbed the robe which was holding its wrist as captive, and with strength that came from years of working in the smithy, Jarret pulled with furious howl. A weasel on the other end of robe made a startled yelp as he was suddenly yanked forward, leaving him no time to adjust his balance. And so corsairs snout was introduced to the sandy ground while the rope slipped out of his paws.

Now his other hand free Jarret's paw flew on the sword's handle and with one sharp flash he cut the remaining rope, freeing his neck too. And not a moment too soon as the weasel was back on his feet, clutching his club as he attacked the young half-breed.

Jarret whirled around, catching the blow with the sword, and swinging it to the side aimed a vicious sweeping kick at the weasel's legs, making him fall back first onto the ground with a loud crash. Another beast would have ended the helpless vermin's life right there but Jarret's boiling blood wasn't after this corsair's life.

Half-mouse's blazing glare turned back to where honey badger stood Flitz in his clutches.

Let her GO!

Jarret sprinted - he only had this opportunity to make it before the other vermin would realize…

"Hey -- HEY! Stop that rat!"

The shout was heard, but only few beast were fast enough act up it. When he had almost reached his destination Jarret saw a blade coming at him. A another weasel had stepped between him and his target, slashing his corsair's cutlass horizontally, apparently expecting the crazy intruder run straight into the cold steel. But Jarret suddenly dropped on his knees, sliding under the blade which passed over his nose so close it chipped away some of his whiskers. Though the half-mouse didn't even note that -when the cutlass had passed over him and the weasel was still perplexed of what had just happened, the half-blood swung his owns sword, its sharp and unused cutting edge slashing the  vermin's unprotected back, making him scream.

(Maybe he didn't have a REAL battle-experience but if you practiced swords with a mole who's one well landed blow could send you flying across the room, you took it in your heart to learn how to defense and dodge. )

Again, Jarret didn't stop. As now there wasn't nothing between him and the giant beast. Not many in their right minds would charge head on at something so enormous like honey badger, without a good plan at least. But Jarret wasn't in his right mind. He. Was. Mad. So mad that all the reason had fled from him, leaving the youngster be consumed by the flames of hatred.

"GET YOUR DIRTY PAWS OFF HER!" Jarret roared atop of his lungs as he jumped at the honey badger, his sword raised

So it's on! xD ... And sorry my patchwork-post here U_u'

A sudden explosion of chaos erupted from the ranks in the form of  a half rat tearing through the crew. Ropes and stoats and vermin could not restrain him. Ratel was startled at first, but watched passively as Jarret ripped through his crew like a hot knife through butter and scoffed. Good riddance to bad rubbish, if they couldn't take down just one rat, they were hardly any use of him. The rat mouse fought like ten beasts, and a smirk played across Ratel's face. He could use a man like that.

He signalled to his crew members, and the army formed a ring around the duo. Jarrets boldness struck a chord with Ratel, causing him to emit a low chuckle. The plan was simple, and with how hot headed Jarret was he knew it was going to work too. Passively standing, pointlessly and cruelly he shook and buffeted the little jerboa about as to purposely get a rise of out Jarret.

"Harharhar, you're welcome to come and make me lad."

"NOOO JARRET DON'T DO IT!"

Pain shot through Flit'z ears, head and neck, and her crying only worsened her agony. She pleaded with Jarret not to fight. It wasn't like their childhood, grandmother wouldn't be there to save him from his assailant. Sometimes you can't make them, sometimes it's better to back down from the challenge, better to accept defeat in the slave lines than die, but Jarret wasn't going to do that. He was going to throw his life away, and on her account too.

"YOU'LL DIE!"

She made a stab with her skinning knife but it felt like a pinprick in his hide. He scooped it away from her and laughed.

"Your friend doesn't seem to have much faith in you. She's right you know, you'll die, and so will she, and there's nothin you can do about it rat."

ooc: from here on out the posts should be shorter since its just a fight

Flitz was right: Jarret wasn't going to back down. She should know better than anyone what half-mouse was like when he was pushed across the line.  He was hard to reason, difficult to calm down and impossible to hold back… And extremely violent.

So if Ratel was trying to manipulate Jarret into a certain state of mind, honey badger was certainly using the right method to do so. Seeing Flitz's pained face and tears really pushed young half-breed even further down on the dark road of hatred and it was shown clearly all over the youngster's features.

A low snarl rose from Jarret's throat. His usually cheerful bright green eyes were now blazing more fiercely than the flames of bonfires which the vermin had built on the sand against the darkening night. He gripped his sword more tightly with both his hands and maybe the only reason why half-breed didn't already attack Ratel, was the panicked voice, pleading him not to.

At that moment Jarret's eyes strayed from the honey badger to Flitz and for a moment it looked like the green flames behind his eyes were smothering. If there was one person who could smack sense in that steamhead's scull, it was Fritz.

But this wasn't like those situations where she was trying to keep him away of trouble! This wasn't like he was planning to make a dive from the highest point the shore rocks or about to start fight because someone had made a nasty remark about his heritage! This was about a monster who had attacked their village, destroying everything and was now threatening their lives! How could he just stand down and do nothing?!

"There is nothing you can do, rat"

Jarret felt those words like they were blows in his stomach and first time his eyes trailed to the sniggering line of vermin, which had surrounded the three of them.

Uncertainty crept into Jarret's mind. Everybeast had that tiny nasty voice living in there, waiting fo the opportunity taunt and discourage in dire situations. And young half-mouse wasn't an exception: even now he could hear that cruel whisper in his ear, no matter how much he tried shut it out. But those voices always had their ways crawl back in.

He's right. You're  just one mouse against a whole army of vermin – what can you possible do?

No! There had to be a way, he tried to tell himself, trying to shut the voice out. There had to be way save Flitz! There had to be… But the voices always their ways crawl back in.

Face it! It'll be futile! It's about time you realize real live is not a hero-tale! Righteous  alone doesn't win!

There must be something! If - if he just could get the honey badger lose his grib of her… If he would get the large vermin forget about the jerboa just for moment... Then maybe Flitz had her chance to run. She was a jumper - she needed only one chance and she would leave these vermin bite dust. No-one could catch running jerboa...

…And how you think you can do that?

The sword in half-mouse hand wavered and then the blade slowly lowered towards the ground, the tip of the weapon sinking in the soft sand. As if the half-breed had finally realized how hopeless the situation was, and was ready to give in…

But suddenly the sword swung up, the flat of the blade drawing a pawful of sand with it, aimed at the Ratels eyes. Hoping that the sand would blind the honey badger even for a moment, Jarret took a whirling side-step and swung his sword again, this time aimed at the badger's arm which held Frits captive.

Master Beech didn't teach dirty tactics - Jarret had learned them from those numerous times he had fought back the bullies, sometimes winning, sometimes losing. But he had seen what kind of dirty trick could turn the fight in your favor as bullies never played it fair. That's why they were called bullies.

I can play dirty, Jarret shouted in his mind, as if an answer all those whispers that had tried subdue him. THAT I can do!
"Fight you coward – Aren't you way too big hide behind the skirts?", he shouted so loud that everybeast in earshot could hear it. Everybody would hear he was openly insulting this giant vermin. And hopefully -- hopefully  the honey badger would now rather focus on him than Flitz.

He would use any petty taunt... Any cheap blow there was to use if it would help him get Flitz out of here. He wasn't going to let anything or anyone harm her. And if it required him giving up his own live, so be it!

He was here to protect her.

It was clear by the look in the half breeds eyes that he meant business, But Ratel's posture remained lenient and lax. Even armed with a sword just by size alone he felt confident in his victory. He could squash the two of them like bugs. He should have long ago, sometimes he was just too nice and generous for his own good. No matter, he would make a fine captain and she a fine galley slave. He allowed himself to take a good look at the seemingly defeated figure before him, when suddenly the world went black and a dry burning pain stung his eyes. Roaring in agony and griping at his face he did his best to clear the sand out of his eyes, relinquishing his grip on his captive for a moment.

"CATCH HER!" He bellowed, but Flitz was already gone. In one leap she soared over the heads of the astounded vermin, her long tail streaming behind her like the tale of a kite, and she was lost to the sweeping sands forever.

A loud cackling laugh could be heard from Flit'z older sister Frazzle in the slave lines. "PAHAHAHAHA. YOU'LL NEED TO SPROUT WINGS TO CATCH THAT ONE, SHE'S LONG GONE BY NOW. FOOLS! WOOOHOOHOOHAHAHAHA!" She cackled, overjoyed for her sister's escape.

"SILENCE HER!"

Ratel was becoming hot with rage at being embarrassed in front of his own crew. It didn't bode well to be bested by a tiny half rat in front of his vermin hoard, and to  lose his hostage in the process. He was supposed to be an unstoppable fierce leader, if he wasn't the best of the best his crew would have no reason to follow him, plunder or no plunder, it wouldn't be long until one of them tried to overthrow him. The indignity he suffered brewed inside him until it boiled into a mad rage. Charging at the rat with a mighty roar, he used his hefty paw to slap him aside into the ground.

ooc: sorry for the small post, im super busy. You can fight back but don't get too carried away, Jarret isn't supposed to win he's supposed to end up on the boat.

It worked! It actually worked!

Jarret's head turned, following Flitz giant jump as the jerboa leaped in the air like she had grown pair of invisible wings. Frazzle's voice cackle from the background and Jarret heard  a short but relieved laughter rolling out his own mouth. Seeing Flitz flee was the best sight he had ever seen in this whole misfortune filled day. How the vermin stood mouth wide open when jerboa leaped over them, shattering into a chaos when trying to capture that said jerboa – only to find out she was long gone before any of them managed to grab rope or net....

Jarret's overwhelming joy was short lived as the mighty roar of rage almost scared half-breed's  tail off. Young half-mouse whirled around, seeing raving wolverine charge at him like furious tidal-wave, in mission make him pay of what he had just did. He tried to evade the beast and his paw, but was too slow

A large paw hit him in the side, enormous strength sending him rolling and bouncing along the sand like rag-doll. He stopped face flat against the sand, everything spinning in his eyes while he was wondering if he was still alive or not. Oh, he was breathing...  So guess he was still alive...

'…If you don't get up quickly, your battle is lost...'

Somehow remembering the words master Beech used to say, when mole's attack had send him spinning along the floor, made the fog clear from Jarret's mind and half-breed scramble to his trembling feet.

Maybe it was due all the training with blacksmith-mole (who didn't go easy on youngster in training sessions, mind you) that Jarret had become adjusted of being hit by strong blows, learning how deal and how to recover from them quickly. Or maybe it was juts stroke of pure luck - after all, had the wolverine used his claws, Jarret's middle section would now be ripped apart.

Jarret spit sand and gasped the air, his other hand holding the sword while the other was supporting his side which was numb with pain. Small dots played around his field of vision as he tried to focus his eyes on the danger, in which direction it might be.

Well they can exchange few blows - but I don't think Jarret has much fight left in him ^^ Flitz was the reason he was boiling the determination earlier xD

A shadow loomed over Jarret's prone figure in the sand as the towering monstrosity slowly approached him, chest heaving, eyes frothing. The crowd encircling them chanted and cheered, working themselves into a frenzy.

"KILL KILL KILL KILL!"

The tides of battle ebbed and flowed through Ratels veins until his eyes glossed over. Now he was going to devour Jarret. He would make a better example as a meal than a crew member. Nobody ever crossed Ratel and lived. In fact, nobody had ever crossed him ever, in his life. People usually hid, fled, or died. Jarret was the first ever to oppose him, and succeed in front of his crew, and he would be the last.

Two humongous paws engulfed Jarret and he would feel his footpaws leave the ground. With a gasp of horror the din of the crowd settled into a fearful silence. The hoard couldn't bare to watch and huddled with their gazes downcast. Something unspeakable was about to happen, and they didn't want to watch.

Ratel opened up his impressive maw, rows of teeth and stagnant breath blowing into Jarret's face. Everyone held their breath and braced themselves for a sickening spectacle….

ooc: SORRY I was away with my family for the holidays, Jarret has a chance to fight back but after that we should probably wrap it up

Nice you're back for you holidays! n.n  I hope you're also feeling better now.

A m-meal? Oh dear – Jarret,  I think you're now in trouble of your lifetime O__o' Quickly! Apologize!#

A shadow casted over him and Jarret made the mistake to look up, meeting those monstrous, glowing eyes. The half-breed  couldn't help himself: overwhelming terror swept over him, leaving him frozen in that crucial moment he should have acted... And then it was far too late.

Honey badger's paws closed around him in cast-iron grip, trapping half-mouse's arms against his sides while yanking him off the ground. Jarret gasped due the pain, feeling how his bones creaked in the giant beast's crushing hold. Due the whole ordeal Jarret lost his grip to his sword and the weapon fell on the sand like half-mouse's fingers had suddenly lost all their  strength hold on it.
'He could snap me as  easily as bunch of dry sticks', a thought flashed in half-breeds mind and made him tremble as the half-breed finally understood the gap between his strength and this monster.

Now when the anger, which had flamed within the young half-breed , had been reduced nothing but flickering candle-flame, Jarret felt as powerless and vulnerable as any beast at the presence of honey badger, that dreaded species of vermin. And Ratel was fine specimen of his kind, his composure so intimidating, so fierce it poured heavily over Jarret like black tar, making him want cower in fear. It wasn't a coincidence that anyone hadn't stepped oppose Ratel before: the warlord was embodiment  of raw power which would make you either bend or break. No-one would DARE to challenge something like that.

It became clearer and clearer that it wasn't in Ratel's intention to crush or  tear youngster apart. So at the sight of  razor sharp teeth even the Ratel's own men averted their eyes from the cruel sight which was son to occur when honey badger opened his jaws.  And then Jarrey understood too. No, the honey badger was going to…!

A panic shot through half-breed head, screaming in terror. Terror which wanted to overtake his body and try to struggle free -- thenit rammed into another, an irritated thought which halted first one's previous panic.

So you're scared now? Not so ready die anymore? That mean voice was back in Jarret's inner ear. And this was all of it? This was all you could do? All you amounted for? Tossing a sand on some vermin-leader eyes was all the  victory you could manage?

'…You were really brave!'
It was funny how he right then and there recalled Flitz's words she had said on the day he had met the jumper at the first time.
'I – I was?', he had asked back then, unsure. 'But… but I lost -- and I couldn't get back your sticks...'
'Ya so?' He could still remember how Flitz's had giggled  and how she had ticked out his tongue at him. 'I said you were brave, not a winner hehe!'

Brave but not a winner… Jarret had never understood what Flitz had meant by that - what was so commendable of being brave if you weren't able to win, protect or do anything which would make difference? Seriously, those four words just sounded like  someone had tried to do something great, but had failed and attempt to change things had just been vain.

And Jarret didn't want to be one who failed - he wanted to make difference, change things...

A hot reeking breath hit his face and Jarret turned away from it - but oddly not because of fear, but because of that sickening stink
"...just brave-- not a winner", Jarret muttered and surprisingly chuckled to the irony which was lost everyone else except for him, before he  did the only thing  which was available to him. He mustered what was left his failing strength and..

...Aimed  a good kick under badger's jaw before the bigger beast's maw got too near him And then sharp rat-fangs sank into honey badger's paw as Jarret bit down with all his might.

Jarret never had liked his sharp fangs - or his claws in this matter - which were just reminder  of his impure blood, a heritage from his so-called father he didn't wish to have.  And then - then there was that part of him who sometimes marvelled how effectively they both pierced skin of another beast. Like now.  Although he knew he wasn't doing any real damage to badger, there was a strange sense of satisfaction when he tasted the badger's blood on his tongue, as the blood dripped from the smallbite-marks his teeth had created.

Pair of bright green eyes leered at Ratel like trying to say: 'Got you first, you duck-knee'd dung munchin' crap sack'

Dammit, Jarret! I said apologize, not 'kick him in mug, bite him and make him more angrier'! U__u'''  Umm… Ratel? Please don't eat my alt ^^''

Hmm, it seems like I just can't make my post short... oh well, gotta keep on trying. U.u'  You may decide if that kick actually hits - and I hope it's okay to you that Jarret bit Ratel. 🙂

If we start wrapping thinsg up, then what happened to Flitz? o.o #

The honey badger didn't eat him right away, he relished in the power he had over the other creature. He could feel Jarret's bone structure creaking under the pressure of his grip, his feet flailing helplessly in the air. That was the natural order. He could snap him in two easily, but he preferred to do it with his teeth. He wondered what Jarret would taste like.

It wouldn't be Jarret's blood he tasted though.

A strong blunt forced snapped his viscous primeval maw shut, dagger like teeth biting down onto his own tongue. The copper taste of his own blood filled his mouth and splattered all over jarret's face in a red mist. Pain shot through his paw, and he swatted at Jarret as if he were no more than a blood sucking pest.

The crew gasped and watched Ratel closely, anticipating his next move. Only a great adder had ever drawn blood from Ratel, and even the great poison fang didn't last long. The sight of blood made Ratel…it made him....

With a shriek he barreled into the hoard, tearing indiscriminately at anyone unfortunate enough to be in his way. Nets flew over him like snowflakes as his crew rushed to put a stopper to the badger lord's rampage.

"THE WRATH IS UPON HIM! SUBDUE LORD RATEL! SEIZE THE PRISONER!"

Two stoats flanked Jarret from either side, striking him with the butt of their weapons and fitted him into a pair of shackles  into the slave line. Ratel shrieked and flailed in the tangle of nets. Vermin swarmed over him like ants, batting at him until he finally went limp. His paws and mouth were muzzled (for what good it would do)  and he was tied to a line.

"CHAFFER!"

A sand coloured vixen materialized as if from nowhere from the dunes. "Yes?"

"Keep Lord Ratel sedated until we reach the ship." The captain ordered. She nodded compliantly and pulled out her herbs and remedies from her satchel, making fast work. " MARCH TO THE SHIP,DOUBLE TIME! KEEP THE SLAVES IN LINE! "

The new slaves, unaccustomed to keeping in time with the tangle of feet, stumbled to walk in unison and tripped over themselves. Those who didn't keep up were promptly whipped back into tempo.

A young jerboa was chained beside Jarret. She held him upright and hugged him tightly, it was Flitz's older sister Frazzle, weeping in hysterics. " You saved my sister you  bold beautiful idiot. Thank you so much!"

"QUIET IN THE LINES!"

Everyone marched, slaves and vermin alike, to their destination, Badger Lord in tow.

ooc: This is my last post (sorry about the length I'm not good with long posts) You can post a reply if you want, but it'll be the last one in the thread. Sorry if you felt I was pushing Jarret around and didn't give you a chance to fight back. Don't worry about Flitz its taken care of.

I think that was a cool post 🙂 And you don't have to worry about being rough with Jarret xD As I can see it, he's now at Ratel's and his crew's mercy, so feel free to push him around if you ever need to. ^^

Do you wish to start the next thread or should I? 🙂  #

Another hit, this time on his face and for a moment the world went black in Jarret's eyes. And when he become back to his senses, the crushing pressure around him was gone and he found himself lying on the sand face flat.

All the commotion, the shouts and honey badgers rampage… The half-mouse couldn't muster power to care what was going on. Maybe some of his thinking capacity was still unconscious while the rest of him still lingered awake without ability comprehend what was happening around him.  With half open eyes his gaze trailed to the direction he had seen Flitz disappear.

....He hoped he could find the strength move his body. To stand and ran past the vermin, so fast they couldn't catch him, and follow after Flit... But his body refused to move. It ached all over and it  felt so heavy and tired. Everything was spinning in his head and all he just hoped the unconsciousness would come and claim him.

But it was two pair of hands which did the job as he was suddenly yanked off the ground - followed by quick shots of pain as the blunt parts of the weapons hit his lover body. Jarret gasped at the pain and didn't have realize he was shackled until he was dragged to his place in the line.

Maybe it was because of the hit on his head, but whole world seemed being slowed down somehow: it felt like it took an eternity just to rise his head and look around. There were still burning remains of the big bonfires the pirates had built. The night was dark, but because of those fires  Jarret could see the scene unfolding in front of his eyes as their flickering  flames painted both red lights and black shadows on the ground.

He could see blood on the sand. Blood on some of the loot the vermin had gathered. Blood under the unmoving figures who laid on the ground. It felt so unreal, passing by the corpses of the beasts you had seen moving and full of life only half day ago.

Then there was quiet weeping and wailing. The villagers... They were hauled together, Jarret now with them, shackled into a long miserable line which started moving.

...Feet felt clumsy. He couldn't walk properly and would have tripped over his own feet if it weren't for the two gentle paws which held him upright and guided his steps. Jarret looked at the beast at his side and it took him whole minute before he recognize Flitz's sister Frazzle. Clearly the youngster's mind hadn't yet snapped out of its half-sleep state.

" You saved my sister you  bold beautiful idiot. Thank you so much!"
There was no answer to that. Part because Jarret felt like his mouth wasn't connected to his thoughts anymore: there was many words he wanted to say, but he couldn't find his voice. So all he could do was offer a weak smile and silent gratefulness of Frazzle's help for keeping him on his two feet.

Yes…He had managed to save Flitz. The thought was just a small flickering flame left in him, but it still managed to offer some warm, comfort. At least Flitz was save - he had managed protect at least one... And if he had managed to save one, he maybe could save another one... And another one and another... If just one beast at time....

Jarret eyes moved over the captives and finally the half-mouse looked over his shoulder, catching a glimpse of the familiar hillock of their hidden underground village. It stung Jarret's heart, the thought of this was probably the last time he saw the entrances of his birth village. But it didn't hurt nearly as much as thought about not seeing Flitz ever again. He had always talked about leaving the village: it was a nice daydream to play and plan, and sometimes he had been very serious about it. Like all those times  he had got so worked up because another skirmish he had gotten into.

But he had never acted upon is intention, mainly because there was something in this place he couldn't bring himself to leave behind…

Okay and that was my last post in this thread n.n Thanks Flitz, thsi was exciting one!

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