A lone beast stood on the path outside the abbey gate, shivering in the cold autumn breeze. She drew her light clothing tighter about her in a futile attempt to ward off the growling chill. The beast, a young female weasel, looked up at the gates of the giant abbey for the first time in her life. Ania remembered the description of the place that had been given to her by the woodland beasts. They had said that the abbey was a place of cheer, peace, and acceptance. But it person, it seemed so imposing.
"Hello! Is anybeast there?" Ania called out in a voice barely louder than a ordinary creature's speaking tone. Luckily for her, there happened to a beast with relatively good hearing on the wall tops above the gate who caught her faint inquiry.
"Why of course there are beasts here!" a cheery vole called out over the wall, "Today is the day of the Fall Feast! Surely you have heard!"
"Well no, sir," Ania replied in a shaky voice, "does that mean I can't come in?"
"Can't come in?" the vole asked in shock, "whatever gave you that idea? Of course you can come in!" His head disappeared from the ramparts as he hurried to open the wall gates for their visitor. As Ania was admitted she looked around the abbey grounds with a interested expression. The red stone, simple gardens, and warm style of the abbey stood out in stark contrast to the palaces of her homeland. The beautiful but grim buildings the nobles of Syrea called homes were not nearly as homely. The vole, an elderly fellow, looked at Ania just as closely. She guessed that it was rare to meet a beast with white fur and red tinted eyes like her.
"Who is this that you have brought into our abbey?" came a sharp question. Ania stopped looking around the grounds and turned to the speaker. He was a young mouse with a rather aggressive expression.
"Amal, she is a guest," the older vole answer the mouse, "treat her with respect."
"Medwin, she is a weasel," Amal said in a threatening tone, "why do you let her into the abbey without question?"
"She is a maid," Medwin explained, "she carries no weapons."
"At least let me check," Amal snapped, taking a step towards Ania.
"Amal!" Medwin began.
"No, it's fine. I mean, I can see why you don't trust me," Ania said quietly, "you can check me if you want." Amal's expression softened slightly, but he still ran his paws along Ania's waistline to feel for any hidden weaponry.
"She's fine," the mouse said when he had finished. He then left them and walked away across the grounds rather hastily.
"Well, you can see the main gates of the abbey over there," Medwin pointed, "but I best be returning to my post." He too walked off, leaving Ania with herself. She was not keen on staying outside in the cold, so she headed straight for the main abbey gates. The albino weasel pushed the open door to the side slightly and looked inside. Not many beasts were about in the front hall, as all were about their separate preparations. Aside from the churchmouse, only the occasional passerby was present. Ania slipped inside, glad to be out of the cold breeze.
Ania gave the main abbey hall another quick glance over as she began to rub her paws together. This was quite as much nervous habit as it was to warm them. Now that the weasel was inside the abbey building, her attention was instantly attracted to the place where the most noise and heat came from, the kitchens. After a moment of thought, Ania made her way somewhat slowly to the open kitchen door. As she stood in the doorway she surveyed the busy scene. It was then that she noticed quite a few beasts had paused in their work to look at her inquisitively. "Um, hello," Ania said shyly, folding her paws on her chest, "I'm a… a guest here."