The two guards on the walltop over the gate were lounging in the warm midday sunlight, their backs against the parapets, speculating on the state of the abbey gardens.
The first, a red squirrel armed with a light bow, spoke. "I reckon that the early carrots are ripe, mate. One of us should sneak down to the gardens and pick a few, eh?"
The field mouse, who had been dozing, opened one eye and chuckled. "Sure, mate. But only if you go and do the getting."
The squirrel laughed and balanced one of his arrows tip down on his paw. "Aww, come on now, Fallowtwig, you know I'm the better watcher. I should stay and you should go."
"YOU the better watcher? Ha! That's a good 'un, Rindell. How about we wait for someone to come along who we can persuade to pick some of those carrots for us?"
The red squirrel replaced the arrow in his quiver and nodded shrewdly. "Say, that's a sound plan, Fal…"
Both creatures started as something outside the abbey slammed heavily into the ground. Looking nervously at each other, they rose to their paws and peered around the parapets at the lizard who was cannoning towards the heavy oaken gate below.
His eyes bugged, Fallowtwig turned to his companion and gulped heavily. "What… What in seasons is THAT?"
"HAHAHA, I'M COMING FOR YOU, REDWAAAAALL!!"
Rindell was already racing down the sandstone steps to the abbey lawn. As he ran, he called over his shoulder to his friend. "LIZARD… THEY SPOKE OF IT THIS MORNING… YOU WEREN'T THERE! I'M GONNA GO TELL THE ABBOT, YOU STAY AND KEEP WATCH!"
Crashing through the front door, he made for the staircase that led to the abbot's study, yelling the alarm all the while.
"THE LIZARD IS AT THE GATE! GET EVERYONE TO CAVERN HOLE! TO ARMS!"
Reaching the top of the steps, he knocked heavily on the study door and then opened it before waiting for an answer. The old mouse who was standing at an open window turned as Rindell breathlessly started speaking, his voice tinged with a heavy note of urgency. "Father… WHEW… The lizard brute which you spoke of at breakfast this morning… Is at our gates, and he bears us no message of goodwill…"
Arriving at the tiny wicker wallgate, Erglu directed his underlings to position themselves against the wall on either side of the wallgates. "Put your slings away. I think I dun wanna get hit if you guys start hauling off at any old mice that we may run into. Get out your knives; if'n I see anyone, I'll try and get 'im to come out of the gate after me, and you'll gut him just as he comes outside, see?" _"Who knows… we might even get t' burn some stuff!" That would keep 'em Redwall blokes busy!"_ The ferret glanced sideways at the two pyromaniacs. "Hehe, yew two feel free to set fire to anything that'll light up in there. That'ns an order!" Facing the door again, he swung his billhook sword overhand and smashed the tip into the wicker door. "KNOCK KNOCK, MOUSIES!"