(ooc: Open to all)


“There you go, Gilfred,” Everett said, securing the knot tied atop the sling wrapped around the hedgehog’s left arm. “Now try not to move this at all…it will need a few days’ worth of healing before we can let that arm down again.”

“Pshaw!” Gilfred blanched, scrunching his eyes at the ferret. “I’m no cripple, Doctor, an’ doan you be tryin’ t’ keep me from me work! Them apples’ll be picked afore season’s out, I’s assure ya!”

“I’m sure they will,” Everett said, chuckling. The ferret washed his paws in a small basin of water and dried them on a rough towel draped over his shoulder. “But leave that to the younger ones—you’ve got kits to think of.”

“Aye,” Gilfred moaned, hopping down from the makeshift examination table Everett had ordered for his ramshackle infirmary. “I just hate mopin’ about an’ not doin’ a spot’a work.”

Everett began clearing away loose powder and dried leaf fragments from his work table. “Well, you could do something else, you know…supervise, perhaps?”

Gilfred rubbed his stubbled chin with his free paw. “Supervise, y’say?” A slow grin grew wide across his features. “Now that’s somethin’ I can do. Keep ‘em in line an’ all?”

Everett nodded. “That’s the spirit.”

“Thankee, Doctor,” Gilfred beamed, nodding briefly before ambling out the doorway towards the courtyard. He hummed a boisterous, merry tune in his deep baritone as he went off in search of younger creatures to delegate to. Everett followed him with his eyes and shook his head, smiling. Despite the fearful fall, Gilfred was in good health…something every beast in Redwall was thankful for. In fact, Everett thought, the past season had been a blessing, with nary an injury save simple singes from cranberry tarts and occasional stomach aches from Skipper’s soup. Everett cupped a paw around the last lit candle in his infirmary, ready to blow it out.

A glow from outside caught his attention, and he halted his exhale.

A dim light ascended up the belltower, and suddenly vanished.

Everett leaned towards the glass of his window, straining his eyes to see any source of movement or creature who might have gone up the tower. The tower remained dark and cold, and as if aware of Everett’s sudden attention, tolled out a low, ancient tone. The tables were set for dinner.

“Odd,” Everett said to himself, blowing out the flame of his candle.

Everett!” a voice called from the hallway. “C’mon! You don’t want to be late for supper!”

ooc: giving this a shot, i really didn't want to try out willow out of clan to develop her personality, but we'll see what happens. Apologies, I'll have to stumble my way forwards. My spelling is horrible so..yeah.  Missing the spellchecker! 😞

Bic: The night was cold, and Willow was frozen. She shivered and pulled the green cloak tighter around her small frame as she walked steadily through the darkness towards the fabled abbey.

Of course, she had visited once before but it had been under the unforgiving eye of her so called adopted mother, Zarya, and the rest of the Midnight Blades. She smirked as she recalled just how tightly Zarya had kept her close by, she had only been able to see the dining hall and that huge wonderous tapestry before they had left once more.

Willow cast an eye behind to make certain she was not being followed.

Satisfied she grinned, having left the rest of the blades asleep in one of the glades of mossflower, nobody was there to stop her having a quick look around. It couldn't hurt to have a little peek.

"Afterall…" She mused. "There's nothing wrong with a little...admiration"

Willow giggled and strode to the east wallgate, the one she deemed to be the easiest to open. With a careful wiggle, she placed the blade of her tanto through the lock and was rewarded with a satisfying click as the latch gave way to the metal.

"Simple! I would think they would've got that fixed by now. Somebody should tell them...well...maybe After i have had a little look around. Zarya would be very angry, If I didn't."

A glow towards the tower caught her attention, and the ferret turned to watch it ascending.

"Who could be out at this time of night?" She frowned, sheathing her tanto and checking her dagger slings were fully equipped.

"Well...perhaps they might know where they store the vittles." Willow giggled and stepped slowly forwards into the tower, towards the glow. The ferret being extra careful so as to not alarm anybeast that might be around, watching where she placed her footpaws.

ooc: how was that ?

"I saw something," Everett said, between mouthfuls of chowder. He nodded to the creatures sitting with him at the table, most of whom had finished their first course and were started on seconds.

Nimmer the mouse twisted his nose, frowning. "I hope it wasn't…what's the word...contagious?" He stuck out his tongue and shivered.

Everett laughed and leaned forwards over his bowl, nearly spitting out his soup. He wiped his chin with a napkin and shook his head. "No, no, Nimmer...it wasn't anything health-wise. It was something...I dunno, odd…like a glow, inside the belltower."

Burren raised an eyebrow, pointing to where the belltower lay beyond the bricked walls. "Hurr, you'm meanin' 'ee gurrt tow'r owt in 'ee curtyard?"

Everett nodded, eating another bite.

"Sharp winds!" Juliebelle said, her floppy ears standing erect. "There's nothin' I detest more'n grown males jabberin' 'bout nonsense, 'specially within these walls!" She 'harrumphed!' and patted down her floral gown.

"I didn't mean--" Everett said.

"Save your placations, sah," Juliebelle said, batting her eyelids. "You're wastin' your breath on a refined gel." She rose and exited the table, spotting another confidant at a further table and engaging in a round of squeals and greetings that send all the males into a round of groans.

"Well, I know I saw something," Everett said. "And it wasn't 'nothing.' Anyone care to join me?"

"What, up the tower?" Nimmer shook his head again, pushing his bowl away. "I'd rather take my chances with an adder...that tower is evil."

"Burr, moi thoughts'n 'zactly," Burren added.

"Well, you'll miss out on quite an adventure," Everett said, standing. "Good night, fellows. See you on the morrow."

Everett began slowly ascending the ancient staircase of the belltower, a candle on its holder shaking in his paw. The cool wind moaned through gaps in the stones, and every step seemed to echo into eternity. Suddenly, Everett thought he heard a different noise--a scratch, or a pawstep!

"It's my imagination," he chided himself. He shook his head and continued to ascend slowly, afraid to acknowledge how truly fearful he was of what he might find.

Willow slowly made her way up the steps to the belltower, her grin widening into that signature, deceitful and charming smile as she silently trod upwards, her keen eyes glancing to and fro in the darkness with every careful pawstep. When one is afraid of fire, they tend to grow accustomed to seeing at night, afterall.

She loosened her cloak and lowered the hood for easier access to her weaponry and pouches, and made her way upwards, pondering what sort of beast would be up in the tower at this time of night.

She froze, ears perked.

pat pat pat

The winds howled outside as the night came into full effect, and the ferret frowned, casting her gaze around the steps as she felt the cold biting into her fur. Natures breath grew louder as she ascended higher, making it difficult for the young ferret to pinpoint other sounds amongst the darkness, however she was certain…
tap tap tap

There it was again. There was certainly something, or indeed, somebeast, coming up the stairs behind her. Willow groaned in dismay, she wasn't supposed to be in Redwall! Let alone up the belltower.

She began to step back, pressing into the steps behind her and feeling the cool cold stone against her body.

Glancing back down the steps she watched the approaching glow with concern as she attempted to press her small body against the steps in the darkness, hoping that perhaps she might remain unseen, or that there might be a crack into which she could squeeze, although that was highly unlikely.

Almost instinctively, her paw strayed to the hilt of her tanto as her eyes gazed into the darkness and watched the approaching glow…

Everett halted for a moment, shivering against the creeping chills that seemed to permeate every inch of the tower. I heard something… he thought. I know I did! He grit his teeth in frustration, staring at the shaking paw that held the candle until it steadied under his gaze. Juliebelle would give him no end of grief, whipping up an original tongue-lashing that would permanently cower his tail between his legs, accented with a chorus of laughter from his friends rolling in the corners. He wouldn’t be the butt of the joke this time.

“There’s something up here,” he told himself quietly. He cleared his throat and cocked his head to the side, trying to see around the stone staircase that concealed the upper limits of the tower and its magnificent bells. “Hello!” he called, listening to the amplified echo as it raced up to the distant rafters. He waited for a reply, a sound of movement—something—but nothing sounded. He exhaled in a hard, shaky sigh and grinned. “I almost think I deserve a talk from Juliebelle,” Everett said to himself.

He continued five more steps until he nearly toppled over a young female ferret in a green cloak crouched against the wall. She appeared suddenly in the sooty candlelight, and Everett couldn’t stifle the yelp that escaped from his lips.

“Wh—,” he began, panting. He held up his paw for respite, allowing his breathing to slow, and resumed his question. “W-Who are you? I didn’t think there’d be anybeast up here, especially at this hour. Are you lost?”

Willow pinned herself hard against the step, hoping that she wouldn't be seen by whatever was approaching. Her paw held the hilt of the tanto as she shuddered and watched the approaching glow.

Her breathing deepened becoming slow and drawn out as her eyes gazed at the stairs leading downwards and the glow moved ever closer, her grip tightening on the tanto's hilt.

"I'm fine…It's probably nothing..."

She muttered to herself, eyes glued to the light.
“Hello!" The voice echoed through the stonework, causing her to flinch and press further back against the cold stone, hoping that she would not be caught.

I can't be seen at Redwall!  Zarya will lecture me again… Her eyes darted to the walls and traced the lines in the stonework towards the nearest window, but it was too high up for her to reach from her current position.

Then she saw him. Another ferret.

A ferret in redwall? How is this possible? I'm supposed to be the only ferret here!

Willow glanced up and down the Ferret, who had yet to see her as he approached. She glanced down the steps behind him and decided that, afterall, she could perhaps slide down the staircase past the ferret and not be seen. Grinning widely she braced herself to move, and then suddenly she saw the candle.

She froze once more, her body starting to tremble against her will.

No, No. Master it…It...It's just...Just a candle! It's.....

So focused was she on the candleflame that she didn't notice the ferret until he very nearly toppled over her.

“Wh—,” he began, panting. He held up his paw for respite, allowing his breathing to slow, and resumed his question. “W-Who are you? I didn’t think there’d be anybeast up here, especially at this hour. Are you lost?”

Willow stared at the flame, her mouth hanging open as she watched the flame dance infront of her eyes, her whole body shaking.

"M-m-" She shook and began to tremble violently, before she dropped her gaze from the fire.

It's not fire. It's just a candle. Just a candle. Look away.

"Wot d'ye think yer doin up'ere y'self mate?! 'ey? Ya nerly fell on me ye great bludderin oaf! Wat in th' name o'tha dark gate's d'ye think y' doin?!?" She still trembled as the stress quickly got through, her fear of flame fueling her actions, paw pulling upon the tanto at her side.

"Shut ye gob 'or I'll gut 'ye wher 'ye stand!"

The female ferret stared at the flickering tongue of flame dancing on Everett’s candle wick. She seemed almost mesmerized by it, and as she seemed to disappear into its sporadic flashes, Everett noticed she was very young and very pretty. But what was she doing up here? Was she the one responsible for the glow—

"M-m-" She shook and began to tremble violently, before she dropped her gaze from the fire. Everett jolted at her sudden spasms, fearful that she was becoming ill or going into a spell of some sort. If he wasn’t careful, she might fall and tumble down the stone stairs, inflicting damage that he may not be able to repair. He moved slightly, standing directly in her path, in case she lost consciousness.

“There now,” he said warmly, trying to calm her nerves. “It’s okay. No-one’s going to—”

"Wot d'ye think yer doin up'ere y'self mate?! 'ey? Ya nerly fell on me ye great bludderin oaf! Wat in th' name o'tha dark gate's d'ye think y' doin?!?" Her paw dropped to the hilt of a hidden weapon at her side, and with little effort she had it drawn and ready for blood. Everett stammered at her sudden display, unprepared for any sort of combat with the female ferret. She saw his lips tremble and barked a quick reply: "Shut ye gob 'or I'll gut 'ye wher 'ye stand!"

Everett breathed quickly through his nose, desperately trying to keep the candle level as his eyes darted from the blade to the eyes of the female. “Look,” he said carefully. “I’m not going to hurt you, so you can put…that…away.” Huge drops of sweat stood out on his forehead as Everett began sprinting through the words that exploded into his mind’s eye. “My name is Everett. I am a healer in this abbey. I saw a light earlier in this staircase that looked out of place, and I wanted to investigate it—I can only assume it was you up here, but I don’t know what you’d want in the belltower, and I assure you the creatures in the abbey have no material wealth you could profit from. There’s too many of us to overpower, and your element of surprise is gone…don’t be foolish now.” He opened his free paw towards her. “Trust me. If it’s within your power, trust me.”

Willow shuddered and twitched, her eyes darting to the ferrets candle and then back at his face.

“Look,” he said carefully. “I’m not going to hurt you, so you can put…that…away.” Huge drops of sweat stood out on his forehead as Everett began sprinting through the words that exploded into his mind’s eye. “My name is Everett. I am a healer in this abbey. I saw a light earlier in this staircase that looked out of place, and I wanted to investigate it—I can only assume it was you up here, but I don’t know what you’d want in the belltower, and I assure you the creatures in the abbey have no material wealth you could profit from. There’s too many of us to overpower, and your element of surprise is gone…don’t be foolish now.” He opened his free paw towards her.

“Trust me. If it’s within your power, trust me.”

Willow tilted her head to one side, her eyes darting back to the candle, the hand holding the blade shaking visibly as she trembled. Everetts features were lost amongst her growing fear of the flames.

"Just…Just.. St-stey back! Back y'hear? Stey back! Git rid of it. Down. Down!" She practically yelled the last word. "DOWN! Or I'll cut y' inta ribbon's an send ya spirit ta th' dark gates!"

Trembling, the ferrets hand tightened on the blade as her eyes continued to flash from side to side, returning repeatedly to the candle in his paws. "D'yew hear me? y'stinkin codswallow! Down!" She pointed downwards with the tanto, repeatedly gesturing at the candle, her eyes darting back and forth, fear evident from the shaking paws and body.

It would seem that in fact, her rationality was rapidly decreasing as her evident fear of something on Everett was becoming clearer, her patience apparently gone she stepped closer, and then pulled back with a shudder.

"Are ya deaf? Put et down matey! Or do ya wanna taste me Knife?!" She could almost see the flames again, her grip on the tanto tightening to the point where her paw began to bleed over the hilt as she shook.

Willow tilted her head to one side, her eyes darting back to the candle, the hand holding the blade shaking visibly as she trembled. As Everett watched in confusion and shock, her irises shrank in the dim light, each bright orb a trembling blot in an ocean of white that threatened to stretch beyond their limits and tumble from their sockets.

“Just…Just.. St-stey back! Back y'hear? Stey back! Git rid of it. Down. Down!” She practically yelled the last word. “DOWN! Or I'll cut y' inta ribbon's an send ya spirit ta th' dark gates!”

Everett shook his head slowly as he watched the poor ferret lose all control before his very eyes. Her paw trembled as she tightened her grip on the dangerous blade, flicking the tip towards the glowing flame. "D'yew hear me? y'stinkin codswallow! Down!" She pointed downwards with the tanto, repeatedly gesturing at the candle, her eyes darting back and forth, fear evident from the shaking paws and body.

The ferret healer swallowed, confident that his very death stood mere inches from his face, vibrating from visible fear in the paw of a potentially violent and unstable ferret maiden trapped within the belltower. He decided to comply with her wishes, not wanting to give her any reason for a sudden swipe or stab that would spill his life on the cold stone steps. “All right,” he placated, holding the free paw up parallel to the candle. “I’ll put it—”

"Are ya deaf? Put et down matey! Or do ya wanna taste me Knife?!" Everett gasped as her grip on the tanto tightened to the point where her paw began to bleed over the hilt as she shook. Her eyes threatened to pour torrents of tears down her young cheeks, yet her determination and anger were still very visible across her face. She was a pained display of conflicting emotions, chief among them fear.

“It’s down,” Everett said, dropping the candle on the steps. The flame exploded for a mere second, then dissipated into shadows, leaving behind a thin wisp of smoke that vanished in the darkness. He heard her gasping breaths and knew the blade would be close to him, yet he couldn’t risk losing control—his life depended on it. “You have nothing to fear now, do you understand?”

His paw moved quickly in the darkness, grabbing her wrist and twisting it away from his body. He was careful with the weight he applied, not to injure or enrage, but to end the hostility and prove she had nothing to fear from a slightly older, stronger ferret. Before she could protest he climbed to the step she stood on, his body pressing against her own. He felt her exhales on his neck as he leaned towards her ear, his nose lighting against her cheek. He could smell her sweat, her power. She was a strong creature, and he would do well not to underestimate her. In different circumstances, he could take her in his arms and kiss her, but now…

“I’m not going to hurt you,” he whispered in her ear.

“It’s down,” Everett said, dropping the candle on the steps. The flame exploded for a mere second, then dissipated into shadows, leaving behind a thin wisp of smoke that vanished in the darkness. She gasped for breath as the blade began to lower, her eyes lingering on the brief explosion of flame as it vanished into darkness. “You have nothing to fear now, do you understand?”

His paw moved quickly in the darkness, grabbing her wrist and twisting it away from his body. He was careful with the weight he applied, not to injure or enrage, but to end the hostility and prove she had nothing to fear from a slightly older, stronger ferret. Before she could protest he climbed to the step she stood on, his body pressing against her own. He felt her exhales on his neck as he leaned towards her ear, his nose lighting against her cheek.

“I’m not going to hurt you,” he whispered in her ear.

Willow felt his breath upon her fur, and his strong arms around her body. Slowly, the shuddering began to slow and she calmed down, dropping the tanto from her grip, causing it to crash noisily to the floor, the crimson of her blood coating the elegant designs upon its hilt. She gulped, coming back to her senses and finding herself blushing, despite the circumstances.

"Hurt me…" Her voice was softer, not as harsh, and seemingly confused as she phrased the question again, as if repeating it would make its meaning clear. "Hurt me..." She faltered for a moment and turned her head, her long brown tail twitching behind her, the two rings of blackened fur visible against the rest of her tail, rough grey marking the edges of the strange patterns in the dull light.

For the first time, her eyes looked into Everett's.

Enchanting, crystalline sapphire orbs gazed forwards into his icy blue depths, nestled within silken bands of white fur markings across them in a long tear like shape that lead out towards the edge of her muzzle, continuing from the natural curve of the eye upwards. Distinctly different from the chocolate-brown fur covering most of her body.

Her gaze lingered there, hovering for a moment as if she were at the gates of the dark forest, stunned. Willow blinked repeatedly, and then turned her eyes to one side, away from his face. Her pink noze twitched in irritation as she attempted to gather her thoughts, her focus drifting at the edge of her paws clutch.

Blood trickled down her paw as her claws had dug quite deeply into the hilt, causing streaks of red to drip down her fingers. As she once more hovered over that abyss, almost she dared to look into its depths, her eyes meeting Everett's again, before she pulled back, releasing herself from his grip and stepping back to press against the wall, glancing down for the fallen tanto.

"Hurt me?" She said again, though her signature, charming smile lit up her face. "You couldn't harm me, Sir." Her speech seemed to resolve itself, falling into something that most beasts would call a respectible and civilised tone. "I may not look it, but I am quite capable of taking care of myself."

Willow wished to distract him from what had occured, and so she glanced up the steps of the tower.

"I saw the glowing from the gardens...and decided I should investigate. As to the abbeys treasures...why.." She grinned widely. "I wouldn't dream of touching them...Everett, did you say your name was?"

Her focus quickly returned and she took several deep breaths, attempting to disguise them as sighs. "Now If you are done, I would like to sheath my blade." Blood trickled down her paw, un-noticed, as she began to cast her gaze around the floor for the metal blade. Of course, Willow was not going to apologise, nor would she be giving her name to this stranger.

I can't believe I did it again. Zarya will not be pleased with me, and I don't want to sit through another lecture! Though her gaze was upon the ground, her head turned down towards the steps, she couldn't help but let her eyes dart towards Everett. Of course, she doesn't have to know… Her smile broadened and her eyes glittered with the sparks of mischief in the dim light upon the staircase.

Who does he think he is anyway?  With his flashing eyes…his.... She halted to glance over at the Ferret. I nearly killed him, he's incredibly lucky! I Can't let him have my name. Nobeast must know I was here.

Everett watched her face, watching for any sign of violent thought or conscious rebellion…but when he searched her features, he saw none. The fear had dissipated, leaving behind an exhausted shell that was lovely in the dwindling shadows of twilight. Her eyes were fire, hotter than the tongue of flame that died on the steps below their footpaws. He twitched his nose at the sound of dripping; he scanned her frame with the eyes of a physician, his subconscious wanting him--granting him–permission to look on her as a female rather than a patient, but he wouldn't allow it...not now. He pushed the thought aside and found the source of the dripping.

"You're bleeding," he said quickly, grabbing her injured paw and wrapping it with a stray piece of cloth plucked from among many similar strands resting in his back pocket. "I'll need to clean it, once we get to the abbey."

"Hurt me…" "Hurt me…" Her voice was softer, not as harsh, and seemingly confused as she phrased the question again, as if repeating it would make its meaning clear. "Hurt me…" She faltered for a moment and turned her head, her long brown tail twitching behind her, the two rings of blackened fur visible against the rest of her tail, rough grey marking the edges of the strange patterns in the dull light.

For the first time, her eyes looked into Everett's. He fought against her gaze, wanting to look anywhere but into the deep sapphire orbs that stared into him and through him, but he was overwhelmed by the force of her gaze, and soon he found himself transfixed and buried in her stare, reveling in the shine of her eyes.

"Hurt me?" She said suddenly, though her signature, charming smile lit up her face. "You couldn't harm me, Sir." Her speech seemed to resolve itself, falling into something that most beasts would call a respectable and civilised tone. "I may not look it, but I am quite capable of taking care of myself."

Everett shook his head, trying to free himself from the dizzying spell that pained his brain. He cleared his throat and tried to find something to occupy his paws with, but failed miserably. "Of that, I am quite sure," he spoke in a faltering voice.

Willow wished to distract him from what had occurred, and so she glanced up the steps of the tower. Everett bent and retrieved the dead candle and its holder as she spoke.

"I saw the glowing from the gardens…and decided I should investigate. As to the abbey's treasures...why..." She grinned widely. "I wouldn't dream of touching them…"

Everett looked up and returned her grin, a symbol that he didn't quite trust her reply but was willing to forgo any further prodding.

"Everett, did you say your name was?"

Everett righted himself and nodded. "I did, though I would hardly recommend such a meeting as ours with any of the other abbey creatures!" He laughed nervously and rubbed at the back of his neck as she looked away from him, scanning the stone walls as if searching for something.

Her smile never faltered. "Now If you are done, I would like to sheath my blade."

His gaze dropped to her fallen weapon, and as he stooped to retrieve it, he found her snatching paw flash like a bolt of dark lightning–quick and precise, and just as deadly. In a moment the blade disappeared into the folds of her garment, safe and at rest. He rubbed his paws and shrugged.

"Well, I don't know what else to say. Are you hungry?" He smiled at his own question. "The cooks have prepared a marvelous chowder, with fresh bread and steamed vegetables...I wouldn't want you to go without a proper meal tonight."

Her eyes…I could drown in them! He wanted to sigh and groan in frustration, but he caught the noise in his throat and converted it to a quick cough before continuing. "I'll help you down…if you'd like company."

He cocked his arm out for her to hold when he heard the gurgling shout behind him.

"Ressssssk blahh guuurrrrrraaahhhh!"

He whirled, but too late--the rat fell atop his back, and the two began their painful, erratic fall down the rocky steps and into the blackness below.

(I'm planning on joining this, maybe tomorrow! That is my answer to everything! ;D)

She had allowed him to bound her paw, momentarily lost by the fact that it had been bleeding. How could she have missed that? A healer, she should've felt the pain, known it was there. It was undoubtably shock from the unprepared sight of flames.

Her smile was wider than ever as she watched the other ferret struggle with his wordplay, a small chuckle escaping her lips. As he leaned down towards her tanto, she quickly darted forwards and had the blade within its sheath, her movements, for a brief moment, like lightning. A quick flash across the ferrets paws and the blade was safely within its home, nestled into the sheath like a resting viper ready to strike at the first sign of danger.

Never give up your weapon. That's what Zarya would say.

Indeed, that sign of danger approached quickly. Willow had allowed herself to be distracted by the ferret, and she had lost her focus as she had danced across the edges of that wonderfully enticing abyss.

Ive…never felt like that.

"Well, I don't know what else to say. Are you hungry?" He smiled at his own question. "The cooks have prepared a marvelous chowder, with fresh bread and steamed vegetables…I wouldn't want you to go without a proper meal tonight."

She nodded her head and licked her lips. Redwall vittles! The finest she had ever tasted. Surely, she would not be missed just this one night? The rest of the blades could wait, or perhaps, join her later.

A taste of those vittles might be worth another 'serious talk' from her mother, decided the young ferret girl.
Afterall, rumors of vermin in mossflower tend to be just that these days…

"I'll help you down…if you'd like company." She grinned, her charming smile had so easily ensnared this other ferret and she was delighted, though she did not quite understand why it pleased her that she made him so disorientated.

"I suppose I shall…If you will not inform anybody of my coming h-" She stopped, her eyes had caught the movement but she was too slow as she turned towards the rat.

"Ressssssk blahh guuurrrrrraaahhhh!"

The rat leapt past her before she could unsheath her blade or indeed, stop him. He landed ontop of Everett and she found herself instinctively moving after them, down the staircase.

Shink

The tanto was released once more from its sheath within her garments as Willow halted, turning to glance up the staircase.

What if there are more of them up there? Zarya will certainly tan my hide If I let vermin into the abbey! But if that one kills Everett… She glanced down, then back up into the gloom above.  Then…..then he might...he might go into the abbey and hurt more beasts! Zarya will not let me forget it.

The thought of Everett flashed into her mind but she pushed it aside, deciding that saving him would be preferable to another lecture from Zarya about 'responsibility' and 'morality'. Afterall, she didn't really care what that rat did, or who he killed. It was her reputation and status that would be affected if she let the rat rampage!

Having rationlised why she had to save the beast and confront the rat, she sped downwards into the darkness. Across the stairs she leapt after the struggling pair her footpaws dancing through the air with every jump and increase of speed her body responding in her time of need so easily that one might believe that the ferret was flying down the stairs indeed upon the wings of a ghostly steed.

The name came unbidden to her lips, soaring freely into the air cutting through the darkness.

"Everett!" She yelled, leaping down the stairs with her tanto drawn, hoping that the cause was not forlorn she darted forwards in seek of the rat her eyes alight with a predatory fire like a cat, hunting for her pray where perhaps she might display swordsmanship of the first degree and slide her blade freely into the rat, maybe before he did any real damage…besides, he might be carrying something valuable or pretty, and that would make the effort worthwhile, Willow hoped.

Edit, ooc: Ive just re-read this again and I can't help but think it sounds horribly poetic. I think I might have missed some punctuation somewhere Or need to change some words. Thoughts? 😕

Kenji Haruki was eating his dinner a few seats away from Everett. He didn't pick up the whole conversation, but the veteran heard enough to understand the problem at hand. As Everett turned at left the table Kenji finished his portage in a flash, mopping up the remainder with his bread. He jumped up to follow the other ferret called, "wait Everett! I'm coming too!" But, Everett had already gone out of hearing range.

"There goes another crazy ferret," Nimmer snickered. Kenji threw him a glance but kept running.

By the time Kenji reached the Abbey grounds, Everett had already started up the tower steps. Now alone in the dark, Kenji started to have second thoughts. "What if there is something up there," he muttered to himself, "it could trigger… that thing..." Kenji walked slower as he thought, a cold chill running up his body. "Curses, I'm to young to have battle memories," the ferret groaned as he started up the bell tower stairs.

Kenji was about halfway up when there was a sharp cry and Everett came tumbling down the steps in the grasp of another beast. Kenji quickly moved out of the way, his heart feeling as if it were his mouth out of of surprise. He felt a strange feeling as if bile were rising in his throat, but he knew better. The second half of his mind was rising to take control. "I came to Redwall for peace... this can't happen..." Kenji gasped as he tried to fight it. The poor ferret collapsed to his knees in the stress of the internal battle, slowly pushing his dark self back into the blackness of his thoughts.

The few seconds it took for Kenji to fight off his evil side seemed like hours. When he rose, he was covered in sweat. He was overjoyed at having won that battle, but he knew it wouldn't last.

"Everett!"

Kenji whirled to face the yell that came from above. Out of the darkness a figure came bounding down the stairs, a sharp knife held in its paw. "Hellgates," Kenji muttered as he drew one of his own serrated gutting knives. Without thinking of the mental breakdown that could quite possibly follow, the muscular ferret jumped to meet his new opponent head on.

"I won't let you hurt anybeast in this abbey!" Kenji yelled as he slashed at Willow, quite unaware of her true intentions.

The world spun like a helter skelter, each drunken turn accented with a sudden impact that rushed through Everett's mind in a burst of pain, like a horrible field of nightmarish flowers, each bloom erupting in twisted, vile colors and bringing its own terrible sensations. Everett growled and moaned, struggling with his attacker as they continued their improvised descent. Fortunately for Everett, the rat was taking the majority of hits from the stairs, but he still clung to his throat and shirt as if his life depended on it.

"Everett!" He heard the female's shout and knew she had given chase. He was touched…no, that's not right. I'm comforted. She cared, and her caring manifested in her pursuit and concerned cry. Part of his mind eased at the knowledge that when he and the rat stopped their tumbling, she would arrive mere seconds later, and with the way she held her blade, he knew he would be in good paws.

But what about his thoughts–his feelings? He wanted to ask her a dozen questions, a dozen's dozen, searching her eyes for the hidden warmth behind them, reeling in the majesty of her smile, wanting to confess how she made him feel alive while she threatened his death, a trembling blade giving way for her soft cheek and whispers to her ear. His breath caught in his throat--what if he died? How could he tell her? He grit his teeth and growled. He wouldn't die–not yet! He still had things to ask her...to tell her.

"Argh, gerroff!" Everett mumbled, tasting spats of blood as he yelled at the rat. He punched and kicked, scratched and bit, but the rat held fast. Everett took the edge of a stair on his forehead, and the world bleached in a sudden, bright explosion; sounds became muffled, and his limbs felt flimsy and dead.

Slowing...slowing...and then suddenly, almost as quickly as it started, Everett knew they had reached the ground floor. He lay on his side, his fur mottled and bloody as he rasped for air, his vision swimming in his eyes. He hurt, but he knew it wasn't life-threatening...

"I won't let you hurt anybeast in this abbey!" The voice sounded familiar…was it Kenji? What was he...doing here...? Everett rolled onto his back, trying to find the strength to sit up. Kenji sounded angry, and when Kenji was angry…

"No," Everett moaned, hefting his torso with little effect. He raised a shaking paw towards the distant staircase. "No, Kenj…don't...she's not...!"

"Argh, gerroff!"

She could hear his cries down the staircase below, she felt the cold stone beneath her flying footpaws as she moved forwards, and then disaster struck.

A huge beast of a ferret emerged from the darkness infront of her, and she shuddered at his size. He drew a serrated blade and she glanced down at her tanto which seemed hardly use against the ferrets weaponry.

_"I won't let you hurt anybeast in this abbey!" _

Sweat dripped down her face as she glanced from his blade to her own. Her ears perked and she felt as though she might be able to hear the moans of pain in the distance, followed by thudding, and then mumbling that could have been a voice.

Focus regained, she took a deep breath and decided it would be wise to holster the blade. Afterall, she did have the 7 hidden daggers beneath her cloak in her shoulder-sling. Her charming smile brightened her face as her shining crystalline blue eyes focused onto the ferret, who was sweating and shivering as if he had a fever. Willow lowered her voice to a calm and comforting level.

"Please, I mean no harm to anybeast in this abbey. Put your weapon down." She gestured to the staircase and the darkness into which Everett had fallen.

"Everett may need your help. If you must kill somebeast, then take your anger out on the rat!" She growled, her face a mixture of defiance, annoyance and pride, lit up by that disarming smile, her voice silken and layered with honey, as she used all her trickery at her disposal to hopefully disarm the violent beast. "Please? You must help Everett. Is he not your friend?"

If he ever tell's anyone of this…I might have to kill him. How embaressing.

Willow waited for the ferrets response, holding her body quite calm and still, one paw upon the shoulder of her cloak, ready to snatch and throw the daggers if need be.

"No, No, Kenj…don't...she's not...!"

The weak words of the distant Everett were lost upon Kenji. He stared intently at Willow as she sheathed her blade, watching her for any sudden movement. Kenji couldn't tell what she was thinking but he knew what an attack looked like.

"Please, I mean no harm to anybeast in this abbey. Put your weapon down."

"You may mean no harm, but I will drop my weapon for nobeast," Kenji felt relief wash over him as she changed her attitude. A little bit further and that… thing... would have been back. He lowered his weapon paw to his side to show her that he meant no further harm. Kenji wondered what she had been doing up in the bell tower. She looked awfully young to be lone wanderer.

"Everett may need your help. If you must kill somebeast, then take your anger out on the rat! Please? You must help Everett. Is he not your friend?"

Kenji swalled nervusly at her words. "I really don't want to kill anybeast," he said with a strange chouking tone in his voice, "but I need to help Everett." He seemed rather unaware of the verbal trickery Willow was using on him. Kenji turned away from Willow and took off down the steps in a run. He hoped the rat was unconscious from the fall, or it could still be hurting Everett.

When Kenji came upon the two beast lying in a heap he reached down and grabbed the rat's wrists. The strange beast moaned, showing it was not quite down for the count. Kenji sqiezed the rat's wrists in a way so that a little pressure would still hurt a lot. It quickly let go, rolling a little away from Everett. Kenji kneeled next to the other ferret, shaking him gently. "Are you awake Everett?" Kenji asked, "you're loosing blood, we need to get you in."

@Vikenti:

"No, No, Kenj…don't...she's not...!"

The weak words of the distant Everett were lost upon Kenji. He stared intently at Willow as she sheathed her blade, watching her for any sudden movement. Kenji couldn't tell what she was thinking but he knew what an attack looked like.

"Please, I mean no harm to any beast in this abbey. Put your weapon down."

"You may mean no harm, but I will drop my weapon for no beast," Kenji felt relief wash over him as she changed her attitude. A little bit further and that… thing... would have been back. He lowered his weapon paw to his side to show her that he meant no further harm. Kenji wondered what she had been doing up in the bell tower. She looked awfully young to be lone wanderer.

"Everett may need your help. If you must kill some beast, then take your anger out on the rat! Please? You must help Everett. Is he not your friend?"

Kenji swalled nervusly at her words. "I really don't want to kill any beast," he said with a strange chouking tone in his voice, "but I need to help Everett." He seemed rather unaware of the verbal trickery Willow was using on him. Kenji turned away from Willow and took off down the steps in a run. He hoped the rat was unconscious from the fall, or it could still be hurting Everett.

When Kenji came upon the two beast lying in a heap he reached down and grabbed the rat's wrists. The strange beast moaned, showing it was not quite down for the count. Kenji sqiezed the rat's wrists in a way so that a little pressure would still hurt a lot. It quickly let go, rolling a little away from Everett. Kenji kneeled next to the other ferret, shaking him gently. "Are you awake Everett?" Kenji asked, "you're loosing blood, we need to get you in."

Everett's head lolled as he felt Kenji's strong paws lift him up to a sitting position. He turned his head and coughed, cringing at the crimson spittle that fell to the stoney floor.

"I'm alright," he croaked, raising a trembling paw to the knot on his forehead. "The blood…" He looked down the front and sleeves of his shirt, which were criss-crossed with streaks of blood. "It's not m--mine! Argh!" He winced and arched his back in pain. "But I could use...a little help up."

As Kenji hoisted him to his footpaws, Everett looked up the staircase, spotting the pretty female ferret who stood watching Kenji, her blade resting in her paw. He smiled at her as Kenji wrapped Everett's arm around his neck.

"Are you okay?" he asked her.

The rat on the floor groaned and mumbled something incoherent; Everett gasped as the rat rolled onto his side, revealing a large stab wound on his stomach.

"Fates, he's been stabbed," he said, trying to reach the rat. "We need to...whuh..." Despite his best efforts, the ferret lost conscious thought and slipped into a patch of darkness.

"The blood…" He looked down the front and sleeves of his shirt, which were criss-crossed with streaks of blood. "It's not m–mine! Argh!" He winced and arched his back in pain. "But I could use...a little help up."

Willow made her way down the remaining steps, quickly reaching Everett's side.

"The blood is mine" She gestured to her bloody paw which had some cloth covering it, though it was stained with a coat of red. She frowned and looked over at the rat, his blood coating his fur and dripping onto the floor.

"Or perhap's It is his." Willow sighed and wiped at her forehead. She looked up as Everett spoke again.

"Are you okay?" he asked her.

She nodded and her iced blue eyes gazed at the rat with little emotion. A quick flit up and down his body, and she shrugged, then gasped as Everett fell forwards.

"He is injured. Take him quickly to the infirmiry! I will follow you shortly, I must investigate further…"

Zarya will kill me If i let the ferret die. Besides….he is...perhaps, he might be useful.

Without looking to see if they were moving or not, She bent over the injured rat, leaning down to look into his eyes. His fear was evident, his pain was moreso, body shaking with the injury.

With her cloak covering her body so that she could not be seen, so close to the rat, Willow reached and slid out one of the 7 daggers pressing it against his neck.

"Tell them Vindauga sent you, with mercy and the grace of a painless quick death" She whispered, watching the rat's eyes as her arm moved quickly in a flash across his neck then forwards into it, ending his life with a few crimson spurts coating her muzzle and hand.

Willow smiled, that terrible mischievous glint in her eyes.

Zarya will be proud. I gave him a quick death, his injury would never have healed. I can show mercy, see! She glanced across the rat and frowned, looking for anything of value, her groping paws locating empty pouchs. Finding nothing, she sighed and shook her head, wiping at the blood.

Nothing for my efforts. A knife would have done.

With that, Willow glanced around before darting back to the steps, her paws dancing to the hilt of her tanto as she once more drew the blade and hurried upwards to see what she might find, the dagger replaced snugly within the confines of her cloak, footpaws gliding upwards as if driven by the winds of mossflower wood forwards into the unknown darkness and what secrets it held at the top of the staircase.

I have to see what that glow was. There may be more of them.

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