It would have been getting dark already, even if it the sky wasn't shrouded in black clouds. With the raging storm, the world was black as pitch. Wind-thrashed and half-drowned in the rain, the group headed straight for the church of Saint Ninians as soon as they saw it. Their mission would have to wait until the storm died down some. Their quarry would be going nowhere tonight.
They crashed into the church and began unceremoniously removing their cloaks and tossing them over the backs of pews to dry.
One lit a torch, lighting a small area of the church towards the back where they had entered.
There were five of them and they were different. Each was an otter, but all somewhat on the small side. And all were the same dark red, darkening abruptly at the back of the head until it turned black at the ears. Their claws, unusually long, were also all the same dark black and their eyes were dark, nearly black.
The largest was nearly the size of an average well-grown otter, the next three were slightly smaller. The smallest figure, when it threw off its cloak, turned out to be young, only a few seasons old. Nonetheless, he was armed with a few daggers and a miniature weapons pack across the back, covered to keep of the rain. The leader appears to be the second largest figure, who began giving orders as soon as the door was shut and the torch lit. His voice echoed strongly against the stone walls, a firm tenor with the sound of authority to it.
"Dryt," he addressed the youngest, "go with Kyr and see if there is anything to eat here. Yokl, quit messing with that torch; get over here and get these things drying out. Brend, you scab, get over her and help Yokl. Tob, let's see that map again. A building this big must be on it."
The tiny young otter and one of the older ones began heading toward the front of the church, while two others began unpacking equipment. The leader grabbed the collections table from by the door, after setting the collections box on the floor, and moved the table under the single lit torch. The largest, Tob, carefully slipped several pieces of parchment from an oiled pouch at his side.

(Yes, I am looking for an interruption. Preferably from a local to Saint Ninians.)

(ooc: hummm looks like a chance I can't miss her comes Tessa and Jessie the long patrol scouts)

The rain came down in sheets as two black squirrels made their way down the road. Both were of the same height and of the  same age. One of them carried a rowan wood stick and wore a green-black cloak. The other had a quiver of black arrows slung across her back and a small sack around her waist, covered by a green-black cloak.  This was Tessa and Jessie. The two Long Patrol Scouts going around and marking the land.

"When can we get out of this frog-lovin' blasted rain?" Jessie asked Tessa as they bent their heads low.

"The church St. Ninians is just up ahead. We can shelter there." Tessa replied and hugged her cloak tighter around herself, her staff making a rythmic sound in the muddy path.

Jessie looked at her, "But St. Ninians is run down as a ruin. How are we going to get warm and have a roof?"

Tessa looked at her, "Some of it is still in tack. We can try."

Making their way threw the rain, the church soon came into sight and as they came closer they saw light inside. Slowing their movement they crept silently up to the church. Sticking to the ruined wall, crouching low and looking over the wall.  Their cloaks gave them the abiltiy to blend into their shadows and made them unseen. Arriving at the window, Jessie looked over and upon the small party of travlers.
At least they are not vermin. she thought to herself as she observed them running around.
After awhile Jessie made her way back down and to where Tessa was waiting.

"Report." Tessa said.

"It looks like the big otter is head of the small group. They seemed to be sheltering there for the night or when the storm pass." Jessie had dropped her hare accent and crouched low next to Tessa.

"Very good, sister, very good. We will have to  stay till the storm is over." Tessa looked to the sky, "Not letting up anytime soon. Be on guard, and be careful."

Jessie nodded and they stepped out of the shadows and silently made their way up. Tessa tensed on her staff and Jessie grabbed her small dagger. As they knocked on the church doors.

OOC: Is anyone currently using Ninians, or is it abandoned? In some of the books, it was abandoned, in others it was occupied. What's the status?

IC: At the sound of the knock, each member of the scattered group in the room, tensed and turned to look, first at the door, then at their leader. He looked up briefly from the maps laid across the table, saying quietly, "I believe I gave each of you orders." Each returned what they were doing (Dryt and Kyr disappearing through a door at the back of the pulpit) before he turned back to Tob, his large companion. "Please answer the door."
Wind blew the door violently open when Tob released the catch, revealing the two dark strangers out in the rain.

When the door opened Jessie and Tessa jumped to attention.

Quickly Tessa said, "Scouts of the Long Patrol requesting to use this shelter for tonight and only for tonight."

Jessie looked up at the otter, hoping they would get shelter out of this rain. If not..Jessie didn't dwell on the thought of staying outside. They would have all right to use the church to shelter even if the otter said no. "They are jolly visitors like us scouts, eh?" Jessie murmured. Looking around the otter, Jessie got a glimpse inside.

She saw the tall otter looking over something and counted how many, she only saw three. Looking around the outside, it was in poor condition, after being burnt down, some of the walls still stood and some of the roof held, but not in many places. Looks like you can just knock it over with just a paw.

((OOC: I think we should assume that whatever we write here is after everything in every Redwall book. That gives us maximum history and maximum flexibility (so if we burn something down on our own or if lobbing a piece off Salamandastron is vital to a story, we can do it without messing up anything).  Maybe we recently rebuilt it? I'm sure Ninian had a function, and it's been forever since it was burnt down, so why not?  ))

OOC: Sorry folks. I'm slow-posting. This means I like to take my time and think a day or two about what to do about what the other person posted. It's slower, but the story develops more solidly. Besides, I've been busy 😛 Tob is the big guy who just answered the door, second in command. The guy in charge is bending over the maps on the table and is the second largest of the group–much smaller than Tob, an significantly smaller than a normal otter. I will create a bio as soon as I know more about these guys. They are new to me and I don't know them well. I'm more familiar with their general population and they are being born from that (fictional population, in just in case anyone gets an itching to ask).
Executive decision: Ninian's was rebuilt (actually, something makes me think it was...) So, two of my charas just marched back into somebody's living space. We will assume they are not home currently, but someone may feel free to dibs the spot and arrive home to strangers going through their pantry...
Now to post...

BIC:
Tob, who had answered the door, grunted in response to the visitors, turning to check with the leader who stood bent over the table a few feet to the other side of the door. The leader nodded to Tob, "Let them in. We aren't here to make trouble for the locals."
Tob did not look pleased at this, but let go of the door and marched back over to the table, back turned to the Long Patrolers, his huge tail twitching in annoyance. The wind gusted the door the rest of the way open with a bang.
The leader watched the newcomers step in, eyeing them carefully, his face carefully neutral. "You may use that section over there," he stated, pointing to the far corner. His tone of voice was not arrogant or commanding, it simply sounded as if it would never occur to him that the two newcomers would disagree. As if, somehow, it were unthinkable. He watched closely, but casually as they stepped in.
Brend and Yokl immediately jumped to move things from the pews toward that side where the patrolers would have to pass by to get through. Neither looked directly at the new comers, though they watched them carefully with hidden glances.
Tob turned to watch them as well, once he made it back to the table. Of the group, his look was the only one openly hostile.

Tessa and Jessie stepped past the big otter. Jessie looked up at him and gave a smile, "Thanks fella." she said in her hare voice. All the time looking around, Jessie tried to get a look at the maps but couldn't see them due to Tob. Tessa's eyes darted around nervously, taking stock of everything. She wasn't pleased that they got an "assigned" corner and glowered.

Jessie made her way threw and her hand strayed to her throwing knives, she felt uncomfortable within the church with all the others.  Her eyes kept a watch on the leader bent over the maps as she passed the two otter.   Only a small part of the roof was available and they took shelter under a fallen bench leaned up against the ruined wall, the lower part of the bench was burnt and a crack ran along the top, letting water collect in a small puddle. The ground was at least a little dry, but still damp. It will be a uncomfortable, wet night. Throwing down her sack and sitting down on the ground, away from the puddle. Her head was brushed up on the top, pushing her ears down.
"At least I'm out of the rain."  she thought to herself and started to rummage through her sack.

Tessa looked at the tall otter who stood a good head taller then her. She felt very small compared to him but pushed it aside. "I thank you kindly sir for letting us stay the night. Its very nasty weather outside and well my companion doesn't like it much, neither do I."

Jessie took out a stone and took out her throwing knives and started to sharpen them, humming a little tune, while keeping the others in her site.

They hadn't managed to beat the storm back home. Holding hands, two hooded figures plodded wearily through the rain and mud. Catching sight of St. Ninians, they let out cries of relief and hastened their pace.

Failing to notice the light glowing from the windows, they tromped up to the front door and pushed it open. The two figures stepped inside and stopped short. There were creatures in their home!

Pulling back his hood to reveal a smallish dormouse, one of them took a step forward. "What are you doing in our home?" he asked authoritatively, addressing the otters.

Behind him, the other figure removed her hood, revealing a second dormouse, this one female. Grabbing her companion's arm, she looked about with a mixture of fear and curiosity.

*In the front of the church
Tob grunted in response to Tessa's comment. This immediately earned him a stern look from the leader and a quick low reprimand in some strange language. Tob straightened up and started to march to the front of the church, toward the door at the back of the podium. He was almost there when sounds of a disturbance could be heard coming from the back.
In the meantime, the leader turned back to Tessa and Jessie. He flashed a smile, suddenly charming and gracious. "Please, do not be offended by my colleague. He has very strict ideas and has no qualms about displaying personal bias. He can seem exceptionally rude sometimes. But you are most welcome to stay here. After all, we are strangers in this place. It is your land and we are most honored that YOU allow US to be here. We are only planning to stay the night ourselves, anyway, with YOUR generous leave. We are quite unfamiliar with the territory I am afraid." He turned to glance at his maps, his face showing a look of open frustration. "We will be leaving first thing in the morning, if this intolerable weather lets up at all. Even if it does not, we might have to leave. Our business is most pressing." He brightened up, obviously, as if he had suddenly had an idea. "Say, do you know this area well?"

*In the back of the church, in the living quarters
Kyr, who was busy going through the pantry, hindquarters sticking out in a rather undignified way as he struggled to search through a space created for the convenience of much smaller creatures, started in surprise at the blast of cold air that preceded the doormice. He turned in a flash, jumping to a defensive stance at the same moment the couple froze in the doorway.
Dryt, the young member of the two person scavenging party hopped off the counter, warily moving towards the doormouse couple, dagger out.
When Kyr realized that all they were facing were a couple tiny doormice, he barked an order at Dryt in an unfamiliar language. Dryt  stopped and turned, giving a reply that was argumentative in tone, if unintelligible in meaning. Kyr straightened sharply in response, gave what was obviously an order, in a low tone. Dryt stepped back, straight-backed as a soldier, sheathed his dagger and crossed his arms, glaring at the couple before turning to fill his arms with foodstuff that had been stacked on the counter.
After this brief flash of an exchange, Kyr turned back to the doormice and spoke consolingly in a thickly accented voice, "Greetings friendly creatures. We had heard of the generosity within your neighborhood and being driven in by this fierce storm, decided to make use of your generosity which we have been most assured of, knowing of course, that it would be your wish that we do so in your absence, just as it would have been had you been present.  We will remove to our space within your outer area now." Kyr moved to gather the food from the counter as Dryt slipped out the door into the main church area with his large load.

ooc: jolly flippin' out eh? sounds funny….

ic:

Jessie heard he responds and said, "I've noticed, he's jolly serious fella to be  around with, eh?" she winked and resumed to sharpen her knives.

Tessa gave a smile in return, "So I though, you're not locals. I can tell by the maps you have, they are outdated a little, and I believe off scale." His frustration showed on his face before he asked her if she knew the area. Tessa took out a quill from her sack and some ink.
She looked at the map, "You're missing a few paths and the mountains are not right next to Redwall but more over to the west."  She explained what was off on the map from her knowledge of traveling all the while fixing it up. Soon the map was looking more like hers', but she didn't add the details, just making the basic map that creatures normal use, unlike hers' which was detailed to the small thing. Tessa was a map maker so this was second nature to her.
"Tell me, I haven't caught your name, what was it?" Tessa asked as she put her quills away and made sure that the ink was capped tight before she put it back in the bag next to her maps.

Jessie looked up at Kyr and raised her eyebrows at the language, and looked at the doormice, "NO manners at all. she snapped at Kyr. Jessie dropped her hare accent and sheathing her knife she walked over to the doormice, "My friends, we are sorry that your home had been invaded, I"m Captain Jessie Streamlily, part of the Long Patrol at Salamandastron. We are here sheltering from the storm, and just staying till dawn, then my sister and me are off. Don't know about the others here though." She looked at the doormice, "Please excuse us that we did this. If we would of known then we wouldn't shelter here and me and my sister would kick these travelers out."
Jessie gave a smile and stepped aside to let them in.

OOC: ok, wait. I realized I just majorly messed something up. lol. The doormice came in the front? lol, oopsie.  I thought the came in the back through the living quarters, rather than through the front of the church. Orion, would you mind if we keep going by that? We can simply make it so that Jessie heard the exchange as the two in back slipped back through to the front. Is that okay?
My reasoning is this: if they came in the front, it would be no big deal to see people in the church, especially considering the storm outside since it is a public place. Also, we have a semi-confrontation type thing going on that another party would mix up coming in right this moment. However, it makes perfect sense to come in through your living quarters and be appalled to find someone going through your pantry. 😛 lol
Everybody ok with this?

OOC: Oh, I guess this would place you way up at the front, Jessie… Sorry about the twinking, Orion. Accident. :S Sorry all, about the confusion.

Guys, I visialize the church kind of like this:

front (since the pews face this way)
________   __
|                              |
|              p              |
|-------      ------- |
|-------      ------- |
|-------      ------- |
|-------      ------- |
|-------      ------- |
|_t         ____ |
            \     /
Back (since the pews face away, even though these are the main entry doors-which would make it the front of the building, from the outside... :P)

t = table at the back with map and all and most of the people are crowded back there. The slashes are the double entry doors.
p = podium at the front. The slash above that, would be the entry
into the living area that my little raiding crew is spilling out of.

!Finally! BIC:

back of the church
The leader answered Tessa without looking up, still studying the map. "Uh, Trint." He sounded vauge and somewhat preoccupied. "So tell me, this is Redwall? What is the place like? Would they take in a stranger? And what are these marks down here? Some kind of quarry mines? Any places in the area that would be particularly good for someone to hide?"
He was actively ignoring the indignant gasps and muttered comments by Yokl and Brend when they saw the black squirrel drawing on their map. Or at least he seemed to. His tail did flick fiercely a few times and they quickly ceased to comment, going back to messing with the supplies.

front of the church
Tob turned quickly to glare at Jessie, when she made her comment about 'kicking the travelers out', and then started laughing. Dryt flashed by, his tiny form towered over by both his elder and the load of food he was carrying. By the time Kyr went to move past him with his load of food, Tob was laughing so hard tears were coming out of his eyes. He made some comment in their language in a mocking tone to Kyr who, after glancing at Jessie, also gave a chuckle and continued going. Obviously, neither really felt the squirrel was a threat, and neither were bothered about showing it.
They completely ignored the doormice.

((Mm, so are we saying they came in the back or the front? Either way works fine for me; it's no big deal. Would just like to know.))

"Greetings friendly creatures. We had heard of the generosity within your neighborhood and being driven in by this fierce storm, decided to make use of your generosity which we have been most assured of, knowing of course, that it would be your wish that we do so in your absence, just as it would have been had you been present.  We will remove to our space within your outer area now."

The mice listened incredulously as the strange otter finished talking. Spluttering indignantly, the male began to walk after them, but was restrained by the other.

"Let them go, Malachi," she whispered. "There's not a whole lot we can do."

"NO manners at all. My friends, we are sorry that your home had been invaded, I"m Captain Jessie Streamlily, part of the Long Patrol at Salamandastron. We are here sheltering from the storm, and just staying till dawn, then my sister and me are off. Don't know about the others here though. Please excuse us that we did this. If we would of known then we wouldn't shelter here and me and my sister would kick these travelers out."

Salamandastron! At least that was a familiar name. Malachi huffed and shrugged off the grasp of his companion. "My name is Malachi Churchmouse." He ignored the laughing of the other creatures except to send a glare in their direction. "And this is my sister, Melanie."

Melanie smiled nervously and bowed. Keeping a wary eye on the strangers, she began to tidy up the room.

"We're the caretakers of St. Ninians, ever since our parents passed away three seasons back." Malachi's habit was soaked through, but he didn't seem to notice. Folding his paws within his sleeves, he looked square at Jessie. "Tell me, Captain - you have a sister, you say? What brings two Long Patrol members out this far? And in such rude company?

ic: Tessa nodded, "Sargent Tessa Streamlily of the Long Patrol at Salamandastron." She twitched her ear at the comments by Trint's companions.

"So over here is Redwall." She pointed to the east. "I haven't been there lot,Its a big abbey around these parts and the creatures inside accepts everyone who comes in peace."  she pointed to the lower part, "ITs not a quarry but its St. Ninians Church, where you and your companions are currently sheltering. The path that runs by it is called the South Path, and it leads up to Redwall Abbey. Up here is is the quarry mine where, Matthias defeted the snake Asmodeus." Tessa looked at the map "To the west next to the ocean and the mountain you see is Salamandastron. Where the badger lord lives and my sister and me come from."

She tapped her paw on the table, "hummm…places to hide...." Tessa had a ton of places that only she and her sister knew, but didn't want to tell anyone. "I would recommend, the old barn next to the quarry, Redwall for shelter, and the quarry."
She looked up at Trint, "Anymore questions?"

Jessie nodded, "Pleasure to meet you Mr. Churchmouse and Miss Churchmouse. " Jessie shot a glance at the laughing otters and twitched her ears and tail in amusment. Then noticing Melanie's nervous glance, Jessie added in quickly, "Don't worry I will keep these..." she smiled, "children, away from you." she added.

Turning to Malachi she answered, "Yes Sargent Tessa Streamlily of the Long Patrol at Salamandastron." She drew Malachi aside out of earshot of the otters. "My sister and me are mapping the landscape for the Badger Lord and going out on a report we got of some rouges in Mossflower woods." She looked at the rain, "We were on a lead before the rain came and washed away the trail, so we seeked shelter here where we were so graciously accepted here by them." Looking over at the otters, "One moment sir."

Walking over she said,"Now, Stop raiding the pantry, and get your own food" she said at the otters. "You'll be fat as hedgehogs."

Melanie wasn't wholly reassured by Jessie's statement, but she smiled anyway. Righting a toppled chair, she pushed it into place against a small, wooden table. It was times like these that she really wished her parents were still alive. After all, Malachi was barely nineteen seasons old, and Melanie, herself, had just turned sixteen.

She clutched the chair hard as Jessie addressed the otters. They didn't seem to be very intimidated by the Long Patrol scout, and Melanie hoped nothing bad would develop.

Malachi, for his part, was entirely relieved to hear the reason for the Long Patrol squirrels being in Mossflower. Usually, if there were members of the Long Patrol around, they were chasing after some kind of trouble. And this hardly seemed to be an exception. Watching as the black squirrel scolded the others, the mouse just hoped these weren't the rogues wandering about Mossflower.

OOC: Due to continued unrest and concern regarding the species identity of my chara, I am editing her profile, "Halfbreed". Significant discomfort has been expressed in having a half-breed, so from this point on, she is an unknown species of otter (isolated tribe). This means I've had to edit related posts (this one) to reflect that. This means the group of five is now a group of five OTTERS. Sorry for the confusion. 😛 I've edited your previous posts to reflect that (no other changes!); I hope you don't mind…. An especially apology to the ever-patient Jess...

front of the church

"Excellent, this is most helpful," remarked Trint to Tessa. "I do have a few more questions..."
He was interrupted by the confrontation going on in the aisle between Jessie and the three from his crew, returning from raiding the pantry.
"My apologizes Captain, but if you could give me one moment..." He moved quickly away from the table to where his crew were approaching with the food, stepping around just behind them, so he could speak to them quietly. In doing so, he placed himself between them and Jessie, making it difficult for her to address them or hear what they said, though he seemed not to notice. They conversed momentarily in their language. Clearly the older two, Yokl and Tob, were not pleased with what Trint told them and seemed to say so, but finally nodded.
They came to attention in front of him, facing back down the aisle from which they had come, back to where the doormice were standing and, much closer, Jessie. Their arms were still full of the food they had taken.
Trint turned to address the poor mice. "Good creatures,  I fear my friends have offended you. Poor Yokl means well, but has never been much of a speaker and lacks proper etiquette. I sent him to ask if we might partake of your reknowned generosity to stay the night, being strangers stranded by this storm in unfamiliar territory. We have been tracking a deranged and dangerous beast for many weeks now, intending to take her back to our tribe where we may properly care for her and remove her from presenting danger to any of you. It has taken much longer than expected and we have run low on vital food supplies. They are nearly gone. Yokl felt he was within his rights to acquire some food from your pantry to assist us in our mission to protect you. This he should not have done without my orders. If you wish, I shall most severely punish him for this, after we have left tomorrow. Though we are desperate for food, I would not dream of stealing it from you. Come, take back what is yours. We shall fast until we can obtain some more honorably."
Trint's proud and rather dramatic declaration ended with the rafters ringing slightly from the force of his speech.
Dryt, shifted back and forth anxiously with his arms full of food, obviously uncomfortable at the thought of giving up his supper, as any youngster would be, no matter how good a soldier.

Melanie watched with a level of trepidation as those carrying the food were given a good talking to by their leader. At least, it seemed like it was a good talking to. But really, for all the mousemaid knew, they were being scolded for not taking enough food.

When the otter turned to address the two mice, Melanie backed away uncertainly. Malachi stepped forward and lay a reassuring paw on his sister's shoulder. They were both somewhat taken aback by the rather eloquent speech.

"Uh," Malachi began uncertainly. He didn't want to appear foolish to these visitors. "No. No, there's no need to punish you friend. He was just doing what he thought was right."

Melanie caught sight of the youngest otter looking very uncomfortable over the idea of going without food, and she felt a twinge of sympathy. She remembered what it was like to go hungry when her parents had first passed away. It wasn't until those at Redwall had taught them how to gather and prepare food that the two mice were able to stop worrying as much about food. She took a resolute step forward.

"And I wouldn't want guests to go hungry. What kind of hosts would we be if we did that?"

Malachi shifted uneasily. His sister was right; their parents had always taught them to be gracious hosts, even if he didn't really trust these strangers. But they couldn't just give up all their food! Still, he knew they should present a united front - another thing learned from their parents. "We can certainly give you some supplies, friends, although I'm afraid we really do need some, ourselves. If one of you could return the food you've taken, it would be enough."

Tessa looked after him, eyebrows raised at the commotion. She saw two doormice entering and talking. Watching it for awhile she managed to figure it out. Bad manners, I say… she thought.

Jessie was thinking the same as the mice and jumped when a drop landed on her head, she jumped back in shock, tail on end and a dagger in her hand. Looking up she saw it was just water. Even worse she jumped out in the rain, thunder clashed over head and she jumped up a foot, scurried back in, and glowered at the rain to receive another clash of thunder and lighting . Shaking herself, her fur puffed up and she swore under her breath.  She looked like a puff  ball of fur that you find after grooming yourself.

She smoothed down her fur, frantically. Standing up after she looked at them as Trint finished his speech, "I missed half of it." she said.

Shrugging she looked at the doormice, "Sorry about that, me and rain don't mix." Grinning at them, her black ear twitched randomly. She was embarrsed, but then again, that is Jessie. She noticed that she still had her throwing knife in her hand, slowly she put it back to the others.

"Sorry if I scared you, again," she said, "About the dagger waving in your face…"

Tessa looked at Jessie and chucked to herself before turning back.

Trint turned and marched back to the map table. But this time, instead of looking at the map, he leaned against the table. He addressed Tessa once again, ignoring the fact that she was busy eating. "There has been significant unrest in this area." He stated it as a fact. "Large bands of creatures have been causing trouble for the locals. Apparently, from what your friend said, you are here for that. We are not. We are searching for someone who escaped from our tribe. She is dangerous, a pathological liar, and detests others who are not of our tribe, though she conceals it well. Our job is to find her and take her home. We are not concerned with anything else at the moment." He crossed his arms and stared straight into Tessa's eyes. "Tell me honestly? Has anything been heard of her? If we found her hiding in some place such as Redwall, would they let us take such a creature if she did not want to leave with us and appeared to be harmless? And are there any other places she might be hiding? We are willing to make a substantial reward to anyone who assists us in reclaiming our lost friend."
Trint's voice was hard and passionless during most of what he said and he seemed to look around Tessa rather than at her, the way someone might view an object of little interest. Despite the rather convincing display he had put on moments before over the issue of the food, he somehow seemed to lack the same convincing passion now in the private questioning he was now conducting. He almost sounded board. Yet at the end, he seemed to soften, almost smiling for an instant as he mentioned the 'lost friend'. If nothing else he said was true, it was obvious he cared about finding whoever he was looking for.

Back in the middle of the church, Kyr looked around at Tob before sighing and marching back to the front of the church, and through the door into the doormice's living quarters. He dumped his armload on the counter, though he stopped to pick a particularly nice looking goodie out of the pile and pocketing it before returning to the church area to help unpack to rest of the food.
Meanwhile, Brend replied quietly to Jessie in a slightly hoarse voice. "We don't carry what we don't need and won't be leaving anything behind for you."

Tessa nibbled on the bread, thinking, then she inclined her head, " You know its NOT polite to interrupt someone eating, especially a Long Patrol worker? Hares have a mighty appetite ."  Tessa said before replying to his questions.

"Reward for a runaway from your tribe. And have I ever head about a rouge otter? Afraid not. She could of been capture by the band I'm  tracking, and if she was hiding at Redwall and you wanted to take her back, if your…lost friend...." Tessa said slowly, "and she is hiding at Redwall, then you have to come in peace and convince her, if she doesn't want to come then you have to leave her there till she is out of the safely of Redwall before taking her."

Then added,  "Laying siege to Redwall is a bad idea. Just a warning."

She stared him the eyes, "If their are other places she is hiding, I would of told you. Wouldn't I? If anything comes to mind for a hiding place tonight, I will gladly tell you." raising her voice slightly at the end.  She nibbled on her bread again, looking out of one of the upper windows at the grey sky.

Jessie twitched her nose, "I don't need anything here, I got my knives, food, and my sister." She winked at Brend, "And I'm clean.." she sniffed at the end.

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