ooc: As far as  I'm concerned, the more the merrier! I think the others will agree.

ic: "Alan!" said Bomboar, picking him up and tossing him in the air. "Upsy-daisy." He caught Alan and placed him on his shoulder. "Glad to see ya, sport. Been meltin' Redwall Abbey again? Ya got the makin's of a wonnerful storyteller."

Just then, a rock flew through the air, aimed at Devro. Bomboar caught it and said, "Now what's got inta ya head to do that? Devro ain't done nothin' ta deserve that!"

The little mouse said, "He's a vermin, and I don't want him here."

"Now, calm your head and thin' a bit. My pappy once said varmint is what varmint does, an' you's the only one actin' like a varmint. Now, I gotta give ya a choice. Ya c'n either shake paws with Devro and make nice-nice, or I c'n whistle up Ma Mellus, and she's gonna chuck ya inna tub an' scrub the hide offa yer. Now what's it gonna be?"

The mouse sulkily shook paws with Devro and walked away.

"Sad, ain't it?" said Bomboar.

Arries crept up behind him.
"It is very sad!" She frowned, "I can understand why a big, mean grown-up stoat would subject to stone-throwing, but not little Devro!"
She smiled, throwng a candied chestnut at everyone.
"Here, I got this from the kitchens!"

Devro's response to being called 'little Devro' was cut short by a flying chestnut.
    "Did you snitch this?" he asked Arries. Being a vermin, his Redwall upbringing had been unusually strict. Although pinching candied chestnuts or pies from under the friar's nose was pretty typical of young Redwallers, he'd never struck up the nerve to do it himself. Even looking at the chestnut made him feel a little guilty.

Arries looked up at the ceiling, avoiding his gaze.
"Um, maybe," She answered, "But don't tell the Friar, or he'll skin me!"
Arries smiled and ruffled Alan's fur.
"Hey, when you break the Abbey, don't forget to put it back together, squirt!" She teased.

At the teenage squirrelmaid named Arries ruffling his fur affectionately, Alan giggled and blushed a slight red.

“Why would I want to ‘break the Abbey’? I can bend it, tangle, wring, pull apart and put back together; but never break it! That’s just unnatural! And, besides, I’ll always restore it to normal once I’m finished, anyway!” Alan stuffed the chestnut in his mouth. Swallowing, the squirrel child hugged Bomboar round his neck, then turned to Dervo.

“Hey, little Dervo!” He laughed at the comical nickname. “Whatcha up to? Did you see my tricks with the Abbey? I’ve been getting better, you ought to watch when you get the time!”

Then again, Al thought. It’s not like he ever has the time. Stoat or not, he’s one of us. Why doesn’t he ever act that way?

“Bernko throwing rocks again? He’s gonna break something sooner or later, like little Dervo’s nose! Can’t we all please learn to trust him like family? But, heck, I’m talking too much!” He threw his paws up in the arms in a humorous and dismissive fashion, and great excitement entered his voice. “Whatcha y’all say we go get some food?”

Propelling paws forward again, he spun them around in circles, pretending to open a mystical gateway to the Kitchens of Redwall Abbey. Without taking his gaze away, he addressed Arries in front of him.

“So, Arries, what’s up? Been flirting with the other teenage squirrels a lot lately? You seem to be doing it more often than usual, or maybe that’s just me thinking too hard.”

Arries laughed, "No no, nothing like that, I have just been practicing with my bow, I've heard that there is some trouble coming!" She looked at Devro, "So how are your projects? Build anything spectacular lately?"
Arries started to walk towards the direction of the kitchen.
"I think I'll get a snack the old-fashioned way," She said,"Race you all!"

“Whatcha up to? Did you see my tricks with the Abbey? I’ve been getting better, you ought to watch when you get the time!”
Then again, Al thought. It’s not like he ever has the time. Stoat or not, he’s one of us. Why doesn’t he ever act that way? - Alan

"Yeah," Devro replied awkwardly. "Yeah, I saw."

"So how are your projects? Build anything spectacular lately?" - Arries

"Spectacular?" Devor thought about his clunky too-fast clock. "Nothing spectacular. Maybe someday."

"Race you all!" - Arries

"Mmmmm, candied chestnut," said Bomboar, munching on it. "Much obliged."

He didn't have to be asked twice to be involved in a  race to the kitchen. "I's powerful hungry. I's a comin'. Hold on tight," he said to the squirrel on his shoulder. Of course, speed wasn't his thing, and he lumbered ahead as fast as he could. He would be able to keep in sight of the others.

Arries smiled looking over her shoulder at everyone. Out of the group, she was the fastest, but Bomboar was the strongest.  She dodged and swerved, running down the long corridors of the abbey.

The race was short, but caused a small ruckus in the halls as the four young ones dashed about, dodging older gentlebeasts. In the end, in was good fun and no harm was done.
    Arries won quite handily. As the four creatures arrived panting at the kitchens, the Friar was already standing in the doorway, looking somewhat indignant.
    Friar Birtwistle's long ear's twitched and his mustache bristled below his pink nose. He wore a thick air of suspicious zeal and he held a thick ladle in one paw. "You young bucks lookin' fer a spot trouble? Eh? Not a one of you, or any otha' beast for that matter, will be enterin' mah kichten until further notice!"
    Devro raised his paw a little, almost like he was asking for permission to talk. "Why not, Friar?"
    The Friar puffed out his chest in further indignance. "Why? A dozen of mah Mossflower-famous blackberry pies are coolin' in the winda'sills. I count six candied chestnuts missing just this afternoon, and you want ta know why I won't letcha inta mah kitchen? You try feeding an Abbey full o' hungry beasts while dibbuns are snatching food from your kitchen, then try-"
    This rant went on for a little while before somebeast in the kitchen called to him for some help.
    The Friar's tone changed instantly to one of sweet affection. "Yes dear, I'll be there in a moment."
    He turned to the young ones again with narrowed eyes. "Keep the paws off mah pies." Then he shut the door in their faces.
    Devro made a face. "He's just mad because he forgot it's the Abbot's birthday tonight."

ooc- Forgive my hare speech: It's been a long, long, long….. long time.

Before little Alan could make any sort of response to anybeast in the group, he found himself wrapped tightly around Bomboar’s neck, holding on for dear life as they near-sprinted to the Kitchens. During Friar Britwhistle’s angry ravings, the child squirrel was forced to stick his fingers in his mouth to keep from laughing out loud.

Slam! went the door in their faces! Alan finally let his uproarious childish laughter come forth unafraid. Thank Martin that Britwhistle couldn’t hear through the door! He adjusted himself on Bomboar’s shoulder to properly look at Arries.

“You know he’ll eventually find out that it’s you, right, Arries? And when he does, you’re gonna get quite a smacking! I don’t want to be there to see it happening!”

Suddenly, Alan gasped, as if in immediate realization. “It’s the Abbot’s birthday today? Abbot Caleb? Aw, crud, I forgot!” He playfully facepalmed himself, but then giggled again and clapped his paws excitedly together.

“When can we eat? Is there still food around that Britwhistle won’t mind us taking? The sooner we’ve got a meal, the sooner I can work on putting together my best magic and magic-themed stories for Caleb! Hurry, hurry, hurry! We’ve not a single moment to lose!

By the way, what’s everyone been up to today?”

Artes held up her paws.
"I haven't taken anything in 3 weeks, except for the nuts! I also don't have anything else to eat, sorry."
She looked thoughtful for a moment.
" Knew it was his birthday, but I couldn't think of anything to give him."

"So that's what's got the Friar's apron tied in a knot," said Bomboar. "We can figger something up on what to do fer the Abbot's birthday if we puts our head together." He thought for a moment. "Let's go to the pond. I have an ideer that will be somethin' good. And we can have fun splashin' around to boot."

Devro shrugged at Arries' comment. "If the Abbeybeasts each gave Abbot Caleb a gift, he wouldn't have room for them all. I think you're fine, Arries."
    Then something resonated in Bomboar's words. "Yeah, I guess… we could all work together to make him something nice. A gift from all of us."

Arries brightened right up.
"Yes, a joint gift! What an amazing idea! Now the Abbot won't be burdened by too many gifts!"
She ruffled Alan's fur and followed Bomboar out towards the Abbey pond.

Alan flattened his headfur once again and stared skeptically after the dashing squirrelmaid. “Why does she keep doing that?”

He didn’t bother much with the issue, as Bomboar followed Devro and Arries to the Abbey pond. Alan clambered down Bomboar’s shoulder and tunic, landing lightly on the ground.  Extending two left-paw fingers, he waved his right paw around in a circle, as if pretending to stir the water to locate fish. The squirrel child laughed, looking round at the others with a simple smile.

“So, what fish should we catch? There’s so much variety in this one pond alone! Any preferences? Make a vote?”

Catching up to Arries, Alan found a pair of fishing poles in a large box; he hugged the older squirrelmaid’s legs.

“Come on, Arries, join me in the boat! You and me together, I’ll grab the fishing poles!” Then the kid looked into Arries’ eyes curiously.  “But can I ask first, why do you mess with my headfur so much? Do you like me in some way, Arries? I hope it’s an ‘okay’ way!”

Bomboar tossed off what he was wearing and leaped into the pond. Boats were fine, but he wanted to go down deep. He knew what he was after. The Big One! A grayling he knew was down there that many tried to catch but never succeeded.

There was silence, then a great splashing. Up and down and round and round, Bomboar was wrestling with the great fish. He gasped and then said "What'cha doin' starin' at me? Come on, I need help with this 'un." SPLASH! He went down, then up again, his arms around the fish. It was the biggest wrestling match ever seen. The fish was as big as he was, maybe bigger.

"Hey, ladies!" said a random ottermaid, "Bomboar's  shirtless and pantsless in the pond trying to catch The Big One! Let's help him out and  win his heart!" The others just giggled.

Arries looked down at the smaller squirrel.
"Oh,  well, um, I don't like boating, but we can still fish!"
She took one of the poles and headed for the edge of the pond. @Tinarandel:

“But can I ask first, why do you mess with my headfur so much? Do you like me in some way, Arries? I hope it’s an ‘okay’ way!”

Arries looked down at the squirrel in shock, then smilek
"Oh, I'm sorry, it's just that I can't believe how much you have grown, and when I do that, it reminds me that you still have many more years ahead. And that you're still younger than me."
Then she frowned, "I can stop if you feel uncomfortable about it, and I do like you, but just as friends."

Then she saw Bomboar wrestling with the biggest fish she had ever seen.
"How do we help?" She asked Alan.

Devro back away from the wrestling otter and fish, hopping anxiously as he watched. He was completely floored by how large the fish was.
    "Hit it over the head with something! You'll get tired before he does!"
    As he spoke, the fish and the otter rolled closer. Devro kicked at the grayling, but got Bomboar in the side instead, then slipped in the fresh mud and landed on his back with a splat!

ooc- Devro needs to experience some everyday trouble that his friends aren't able to shield him from. Right now, his life looks pretty awesome. There needs to be something that all the characters struggle with to such a point that they can't fix it with a handshake and kind words. Ideally, the conflict would come from youngbeasts who have good intentions, but bad methods. I.E. getting his to steal a pie to be 'more like us' or Elders holding him to unreasonable standards because he is constantly under a magnifying glass.

Bomboar was fighting the big grayling, trying to wrestle it to shore. He heard Devro shouting and then kicked him in the side. "OOF!" he screamed but held on to the fish for dear life. He was near the shore now and he rolled and rolled in the mud until he came to a large rock. That was what he needed to land the fish. WHAM! He slammed the grayling on the rock, but in so doing he hit his own noggin on it. He and the fish were laying side by side, both out like a light until somebody would help him. But the fish was caught.

ooc: Sorry we ran away with the story in your absence. We'll get back to Devro, who is the main thrust of the story.

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