"What happens in the horde, stays in the horde…."
Demyan - Fox - Evil
Nerissa - White Fox - Neutral
Rheda Nightlord - Marlfox - Neutral
Ryker - Feral Cat - Neutral
Veska - Monitor Lizard - Neutral
Ryker had heard what the fox had said, but Veska's command made him realize it was too late to get everybeast prepared for them, even if he managed to do so, he wasn't completely sure they would dare draw blades against them anyway. Ryker's group was easily outmatched and outnumbered by Veska's monitors, she had brought at least nearly two score with her. No doubt that ol' Raknak the Raggedtoothed bastard himself had given away the size of Laverna's party when they had met near the office and not surprisingly, Veska had not taken any foolish chances when it came to bringing justice to the deserters and robbers.
The seacat knew there is no way to settle this situation without it being on the monitor lizard's terms. The ferrets were going to be at Veska's mercy, not Laverna's as the wildcat captain had originally hoped. Though hope was hardly long gone, unlike Raknak. Ryker knew that Veska was surprisingly by-the-books for a beast of her size and power, he had never heard of any stories of corrupt behavior from the lizard, maybe this would allow him to legally regain custody of the deserters.
He wasn't completely sure though, beasts went to the palace dungeons usually for fighting or harassment, not stealing a entire treasure chest full of gold. Ryker saw many arrests for crimes considered lesser than that plenty of times during his vacations here with Captain Crableg, but never really seen or heard the consequences of flat-out robbery, well except today from Raknak.
His heard his conscience speak his exact thoughts in the back of his mind. "Well, it's worth a shot in the dark. See if there is any way to pull them out of a possible execution, Laverna would be angry if you didn't…."
He held his paws out, empty and in a nonthreatening manner. "Veska, lets not start executions here, we need them alive-"
Veska cut him off with a glare and one word in a serious and authoritative tone. "Zilence!" The monitor lizard at the moment was not in the mood or idle conversation, a crime had been committed in Sampetra and she hated it when the peace was disturbed, when Raknak, the complete and utterly hopeless fool, came walking into her private quarters and told her of a crime that had happened near the docks and informed her of the nature of the crime that had been committed, she literally grabbed a hold of him and shook as much information out of him as possible. All she got out of him that mattered though was the number of the wildcat captain's crew, the number of beasts who were actually involved in the robbery and that nobeast as far as he knew are dead yet as a result. Not surprisingly, it took less time for her to gather up the appropriate amount of monitor shock troopers and get out of the palace than it did to get that information….
It was typical, she did most of the hard work, Raknak was hardly the former captain whom she has worked with before his death, the only time he ever remotely made an attempt to do his job was when a crime happened right in front of his hideous face and even than, he would completely mess it up due to his lack of understanding and remembering Sampetra's laws and his own pitiful and disgusting nature, she had heard of the nonsense that would come out his muzzle from witnesses and every time she did, it sent her off seething with anger....
Already, she got a good idea on what is going on right at this moment, the two ferrets are the thieves, no doubt. The small group are likely part of their own crew wanting to get personal revenge against them, most likely torturing them to death or lynching them and the beaten up weasel? Either he is supposed to be the ferrets' hostage or he was with them and soon after the robbery, lost his nerve at the last minute and suggested that they all turn themselves in. Apparently the ferrets are not in the mood to turn themselves in, what a surprise, corsairs tend to let that pirating lifestyle and personal freedom garbage go to their heads and have severe aspirations of being above any law. Even Sampetra's, what nonsense! Such beliefs were as ridiculous as trying to store a longboat under a bed!
As much as she would like to actually imprison the ferrets and keep them from the vengeful crew out of spite against their petty attempts to break Sampetra's laws, she had to fold to those same laws as well, unfortunately for the ferrets. Robbery is a severe crime, but not one that called for the death sentence, if this crew had enough money and no sense of being the better beasts and acting it, they could pay their fine and sentence them with their own twisted and unruly sense of justice...... So long as they didn't do it on Sampetra's soil of course!
She turned her head to the ferret pair, than back to Ryker and fixed him with a hard stare. "Theze two are going to be arrezted and zent to the Zampetra dungeonz, the weasel'z coming with uz for healing and queztioning. If the weazel's proven a victim, he'll be releazed az zoon az pozzible. Everything here will be confizcated. The ferretz have committed a zevere crime, they could be locked away from a long time and the only other way they will be releazed iz if you are willing to pay their finez. Now leave thiz area and come back to the palace after a while, I will not be azking again...."
Ryker broke eye contact with the monitor leader and sighed under his breath. He was fearing that ultimatum would come, though it did not come in the manner he expected, it was still pretty bad. They don't have the currency to buy BOTH ferrets out more than likely and if things don't go smoothly for Veska when she makes her arrest attempts, they could both be dead, no matter if they defy her and stay or give into her demands and leave. Laverna was going to be angry with him for failing her….
He tried to sound confident as he started to urge them to turn around and leave. "Lets go crew mates, we'll get them later. There's no point in getting ourselves killed here...."
Matlock's ears were flat against his skull throughout the whole exchange, and he was gripping his harpoon as if it might abandon him to the giant lizard. He opened his mouth to protest at the thought of Laverna's personal slave being dragged off by these sinister reptiles, but no sound came out; his throat was dry. The best he could do was nod at Ryker and follow the feral cat's orders with the grace of a frightened rabbit. Shame filled him, made his cheeks grow hot and his tail droop to brush his legs. The Captain was not going to be happy about this.
"Begging your pardon, sir, but what's the plan now?" Matlock muttered, matching pace with the cat. "Now they've got our captain, our quarry, and our chest of gold up at that Palace."
"We play along, that's all we can do at this point. We are fortunate that it was Veska who has them instead of any other beast, believe it or not. They say no beast both corsair or slave has ever successfully bribed her into doing something that wasn't according to Sampetra's laws. She is incorruptible, if Veska said that they were not going to be executed, than they likely aren't goin' to be, so we have that goin' for us. Best thing for us to do at this point is to go back to Captain Laverna and give her the news….. and hope that she doesn't try to march us back there to pick a fight with Veska and her monitors...." The seacat turned his attention to Nerissa, who had been listening to the conversation between them from behind. "How did he look friend? Did ya get a good look at him?"
The white fox shook her head. "I gazed upon yon weasel an methinks he is battered, but fine, however I cannot say for certain. Tis' possible Perrin could have something broken. I will know nought from just looking at him, only through physical touch. Let us hope that what thou hast heard holds true, and they handle him gently…." She knew how agonizing it could be for a beast with broken bones to be carried in any manner that wasn't stretcher.
A couple of hours past by, but they felt much longer for Ryker, he had came back with the search party only to discover that Laverna had possibly been gone since not long after he first left the crew with his pack to hunt for Perrin and the ferret thieves. Raknak had came back to apparently retrieve her for the emperor and according to several hordebeasts who witnessed the exchanged between him and Laverna, he was acting incredibly out of character and strange. It was something he found particularly disturbing, he had heard the stories and rumors about Pantaleon Radzi, every corsair who's spent more than one day on the deck of ship knew them. How the emperor was the descendant of the mighty Emperor Madeyes that used to exist so long ago, how he inherited the same hypnotic powers that Ublaz had been famous for, it was the reason that despite the minor issues with corruption amongst the Sampetra authority. Every day on Sampetra worked smoothly and with little problems, other than conflicts with minor slave rebellions, Ryker never recalled a incident involving the staff standing up to the emperor….
He felt dread well up inside him, this was a horrible idea from the beginning. Why didn't he try to convince her and Claudia that it wasn't a good idea? What if he had to come back and inform the Warlady that her dearest cousin isn't going to be coming back because she made the severe error of staring into the bastard's eyes? Should he even dare bother to come back to make the report?
His thoughts started to turn to the hordebeasts themselves when he had thought about Claudia, maybe it would be better for him not to ever go back. If Laverna is gone, imprisoned under the spell of the emperor's hypnotic eyes without any realistic hope of rescue and he has the only ship that Claudia's army ever had, why should he go back? There would be no consequences in not doing so and all these beasts would basically be free beasts. Especially his closest friends, Perrin arguably could end up in prison, but he doubted that would be the case. Veska likely would realize the weasel was hardly criminal material and release him soon after he was fixed up and he and the crew could retrieve him and leave the island.
He weighed everything in his mind. No..... No, it was done now. This mission is dead in the water and if something wasn't done swiftly, he and the rest would be aswell. He had to nab Perrin and get out to sea now! Pantaleon will likely be too busy amusing himself with Laverna to realise that she has an entire crew that he could nab and use a puppets as well and Veska isn't going to do anything that is against the rules unless the emperor says otherwise, if he moved now, maybe he could retrieve Perrin and be out to sea before Pantaleon turns his interest on them....
"Come on guys, lets head for the palace...." Was his order before he had the pack move for the stronghold of the dreaded emperor. Despite the fact that most of the beasts under him where raised from birth to see felines as superior to them and to obey them no matter what. He found that he was too scared tell them they weren't really coming for Laverna.... either that..... or he was ashamed of how much of a poor leader he has been for them so far....
Arctic Fox (Or "White Foxes" as they are called in Rakkety Tam.)
Has no job, slaves do not get paid.
_Nerissa is an arctic fox, which means her coat is pure white during the colder seasons and sheds off to a more shorter, blackish coat during the warmer seasons. Although her kind are known to come from a harsh land, Nerissa doesn't have the markings and physique of a proper Ice and Snow fox due to being born a slave instead of being captured. Because of this, she lacks a "warrior maiden" physique and instead has one you could expect from a fit, but not exercised maid. Which came from the fact she is a healer who aids the wounded after battles instead of being a war slave or servant slave.
A rather notable thing about her however, is the presence of hair that is done into a braided ponytail._
_Being a healer, Nerissa is required to have most of the ingredients and equipment need for healing purposes on herself at all times. Because of this, she has several pouches across her waist that contain herbs, mosses, leaves, roots, bone or wooden needles, bark for binding purposes, bandages, bottles and vials of various medicines, alcohol, ointments and unguents. Otherwise, she is dressed typically and standard issuedly by slave healer standards with a few personal objects of her own choice to wear. Nerissa dresses simply with dark tan breeches, a slate grey short-sleeved tunic, a brown leather belt with a scabbard for her sickle sword, a brown leather sheath for a long straight dagger and a sleeveless thigh-length, high-collared, silver colored gambeson stitched in a diamond pattern that is made from linen and stuffed with left over fur for protection.
Nerissa likes jewelry and is constantly getting her paws on them, but due to a incident where she had failed to save one of more popular and liked members Claudia's cat knights from a mortal wound, the other cats typically demand such items from her to keep out of spite and will sometimes even throw low valued jewelries into a river or lake in full view of her just to hurt her emotionally. For now in terms of jewelry, she has a necklace made from a long blue-coloured cord with red coral beads strung through it. A common article of Land of Ice and Snow jewelry, and also wears several bracelets of different designs made from turquoise, lapis lazuli and malachite. She typically only wears them in private so she can admire them without the risk of cats seeing and confiscating them._
_Nerissa has extended knowledge on healing and extended experience as well. Though she is not always successful in fully healing or saving her patients, she has proven herself a expert medicine maid. She isn't just good with medicines either, she has saved several lives with her extensive stitching skills as well and removed infection causing barbed arrow heads and sealed the cuts and wounds with her dagger.
Because of her profession, she is also has a great memory and a strong will to learn, even if they are not subjects revolving around healing. It also means that typically hordebeasts treat her with some respect because she may end up being one of the healers who has to operate on you or otherwise care for you. Cats have no worry of this because she would be severely punished and killed should she on purposely cause the death of a feline, but in the case of most other races, not many would care too much if she caused an accident to a wounded beast who wronged her…._
_Nerissa isn't a combat hardened killer or an experienced swordsbeast, she has rarely had any direct combat with any enemy at all and because of her status as a healer, most hordebeasts are wise enough never to wrong her in any way, especially physically. (blacksmiths and cooks also have this little perk) She has recently be mock dueling with Ryker to pass time during their trip to Sampetra, but she still had a lot to learn.
Nerissa isn't a popular hordebeast, due to a incident where she failed to save a cat knight from death after he was pierced by six barbed arrows, because of this. She had for a long time become a subject of cruel bullying by cats, this has stopped recently since she became well acquainted with Ryker, but she still suffers from paranoia and tries to stick around him as often as possible._
Goes by the name "Demyan" and insists on it. Nobeast knows his real name or if he even has a full name. Some beasts nicknamed him "Dye Brush Demyan" and he's showed no hostility towards being called that. His birth name and real name however, is Drogo.
Fox (Has the appearance of a Blanford's fox)
Spying and Reconnaissance, however he has lived a double life throughout most of his existence and is a serial killer. Only a few know this secret.
_His race is shorter than red foxes, white foxes and Marlfoxes and therefore is around the same height of a feral cat. In fact, this fox and another character of mine, Ryker are the same exact height, but unlike Ryker who has a figure that is very athletic. Demyan has the physique of a body builder and has the strength to prove it. Several of his victims have died by strangulation. Demyan had a coat that was a stiff mixture of a mid-lower tanish color that covered his belly and most of his tail and a upper almost saddle-style lightish grey and black upper coat that extended down to his thighs, shoulders and a quarter of his tail length. His face was also tan colored with black marking that extended down his cheeks like a cheetah and part of his muzzle and his hands and foot paws were white. However, now his bush, his face and his hands and footpaws are an explosion of dark blue, dark green, dark red and black. This habit of dying himself spawned from a obsessive curiousity and interest in the betta fish that younger wildcats would use to pass the time by pitting them against other betta fish. They were beautiful, and powerful fighters, just like he wanted to be.
Demyan has two different coloured eyes, one being dark blue and the other being very very foggy icy light blue, if it wasn't for the solid black slit. It would appear to be a blind eye. Some of the dimmer bullies in his childhood often mistook it for a eye suffering from cataracts and attempted to ambush him on his 'blind side.'
Being a former war slave, he has several scars, but unlike most warriors, openly despises them and tries to hide all of them, though not all of them can be hidden, especially a particulary few thin, but long ones that start from the back of his head and drag their way down to his left cheek. They are claw marks.
As a added note, Demyan often tries to bathe whenever he can._
_Possibly the oldest item he possesses and his all time favorite weapon is a large ratcheting knife (Navaja) that was a war trophy from one of Jandour's many border skirmishes with the natives of the Cold Lands, as the inhabitants there were well known for making unique devices and weaponry such as the cranequin used to reload their heavy crossbows. The knife had eventually found its way to the Great South Coast, and a fifteen year old Demyan would eventually steal the blade from a local market place and use it to murder several maids, including his own mother.
A favorite method of murder he enjoyed that could be done on beasts with large multifloor houses or who were traveling on the road was to sneak about under the darkest darkness of night and make little, but ample noises. Enough to give beasts the impression that something simply fell off a book self or that a branch must have fallen somewhere. When beasts came to investigate, he would stalk them and feed on their growing sense of fear and paranoia, when he finally got bored of playing with his pray, the last sound they would hear was the unnatural metallic clicking noise of his knife folding out for the kill.
However, it wasn't his only weapon, he also carried about a sling should he ever need a ranged option to his murders and assassinations and a long, thin dagger. The dagger was obviously made by white cats, its handle and sheath were made with a combination of fish ivory and shark skin. It had previously been in possession of one of the sailors that Demyan had worked with, a middle aged otter, who had bought the weapon as a souvenir for his son. Unfortunately, he would never see his family again as he got eaten by the savages of the Land of Ice and Snow when the crew took a job to retrieve ice from the nation for a pine martin lord from a island called Sampetra. The inside of the sheath was coated in a slimy substance that both the otter and Demyan originally thought was some kind of preservative oil. However, Demyan found out this wasn't the case and that it was in fact some type of toxic from a very poisonous fish or some other aquatic creature.
Demyan is a huge fan of jewelry, because jewelry is always used to improve one's look. He has earrings, pawrings, toerings, tailrings, bracelets, necklets, muzzle piercings, tongue piercings and even a nose ring. These come in all different styles, shapes, sizes and materials. Which range from studs to rings, from ivory to gold. He is typically seen wearing many of them on his person.
Demyan has a curious sense of fashion. Wearing a combination of satin, silk, and flannel clothing, he wears a long sleeve silver colored ruffled shirt that is a size or two too large and leaves it looking baggy and a pair of pants that are the same color, but are the correct size. They are both made from a silk or satin fabric that corsairs wear, he also wears a short sleeve shirt under his shirt to keep warm and a knee length kilt over his breeches, both are made from the flannel fabric common in the Northlands and are Egyptian blue and black colored with a tartan pattern. He also wears two sashes that he uses for his waist and as a scarf around his neck and tucked into his shirt that are a dark blue with a black pattern weave.
Finding boots to be too loud for his job and not a big fan of gloves either, Demyan wraps his feet and paws with black cloth. He also wears a long black silk scarf around his head when out on his missions, the silk was thin enough for him to see through it, but not too thin that his victims could catch sight of his glowing eyes._
_Demyan is a powerhouse inside a more compact body than most races of vulpine. An assassin with muscle that allows him to easily overpower most of his victims and sometimes even kill them via strangulation. Demyan also uses this strength to bust through, pull open or otherwise do particular feats of strength that some other beasts wouldn't have the strength too pull off. He takes particular pride in working out his legs which has given him uncanny speed and long distance running. Making him pretty much the fastest beast in Juno's forces, even compared to his feline superiors.
Demyan also is a master assassin, this stems from his secret life as a serial killer who would stalk his victims before finally killing them. He know how to avoid a beast's senses, he knows how to pick locks, he leaves false evidence and often steals from other beasts and uses their objects as a way to frame them and finally, thanks to his experiences with the white cats of the Great South Coast, he even has knowledge on making poisons.
Also thanks to his place of origin, Demyan is a very resourceful beast. The white cats ran a tough society and he was forced to go through the same militaristic schools that all other citizens of his country had to go through. Because of this, Demyan also shares Ryker's extensive knowledge on aquatic wildlife and their uses, a particular example of this was when he assassinated a beast by stuffing his sea salmon lunch full of puffer fish organs._
_Demyan isn't mentally stable. He believes that the only way to become beautiful and sexually appealing to the eyes of the opposite gender is to dye his fur several attractive colours, get as many body piercings as he can and wear as much jewelry as he can and finally, eat key body parts of his victims to improve the 'ugly' parts of his own body and give him strength. (Something he learned from the natives of the Land of Ice and Snow.) Obviously, Demyan has severe self-esteem issues, but it is unknown to most beasts because he is extremely secretive about his serial killing ways and does not display any hint of his low self-esteem in public. He so far, has hidden his true feelings well.
Demyan sometimes has moments where he lacks common sense and self control. Juno found out about his serial killing ways when the fox murdered one of his own via strangulation in the dead of night and ate the fellow foxes' arm muscles and stole his jewelry, the very next day. Several of Juno's cat knights immediately identified the jewelry Demyan was wearing as the victim's. Luckily, Juno saw Demyan's ability to kill a beast bigger than he was silently in the middle of a crowed campsite as a useful skill to make use out of and therefore, spared him and changed his position from a typical war beast to an assassin and scout.
Finally, Demyan doesn't wear any sort of armour or defense due to his job. He is vulnerable to any type of attack both melee and ranged and has to depend on good sense of awareness and quick reflexes to survive ranged attacks. A stray arrow or crossbow bolt could easily kill him if struck in the right spot._
_Veska was hatched and raised in a jungle country that bordered Zandor and the South Desert Peninsula where she grew up as a fisherbeast and became quite good at it thanks to a very almost unnatural talent of throwing harpoons and nets and the fact her tribe settled not too far away from a small city inhabited by bat-eared cats. She made her monthly trips to the shop of a old cat to restock on her baits and whatever equipment that had broke while she was fishing and eventually, to hang out with the feline, who she grew to respect and see as an ally. Eventually while still an adolescent, she had to serve her tribe in a war as a child soldier. Thankfully, she has some special help from the old cat, who taught her how to make inexpensive armor by soaking thick cotton wear into brine and leaving it to dry in shade. Causing it to turn into a very light armor capable of even stopping arrows dead, the cats used this armor to make their generation's long tradition of piracy much easier, this armor would save her in several battles from bowbeasts and beasts who use blowguns and poisonous darts.
Again, her talent with throwing things made itself known, throughout the war. She killed dozens of beasts with light spears and javelins, even killing one of the rival chieftain's sons. He had been taunting her tribe from the top of a wood wall and was certain that he would be safe thanks to its height and the steam that her tribe would have to wade through to get to the walls, arrows from their bows failed to reach him, but Veska's use of a atlatl made him the first casualty of a siege that didn't even start yet.
Like all tribal wars, due to the primitive lifestyle and technology, did not last for long. It was a season long conflict, after it ended. Veska went back to fishing and soon on her next birthday she got a small boat for a discount from the old cat, small enough that she only needed a small crew, but big enough to be seaworthy. It was a junk ship, she liked how she could go anywhere she pleased with it. Even against the wind.
What would appear to be a profitable and pleasant future for her and about two score others would met tragedy at the hands of Desert Peninsula natives, slavers they were. The country was best known for its huge slave market. They hooked Veska's junk and swarmed the left railing of their galleass with scimitars and other curved blades against her crew's harpoons and nets. None of them were cats.
Veska and her forty crew mates were put in chains and forced to help row the galleass back to the desert peninsula due to it being dragged down by the junk it was towing. Between them and the slaves already there it was very crowded, when they finally made it to shore. Herself and her crew were taken to a slave compound, she never saw her ship again after that, nor did she ever see her crew mates again either when she got processed and moved to a different compound. (When beasts were enslaved in a group by desert beasts, it was typical procedure to separate them so they couldn't potentially work together a plan for escape or rebellion.)
For the next couple of years, Veska became a strong, but hated slave. She worked hard, but was also bitter tempered from having her freedoms ripped from her and being treated like utter garbage by her two slavemasters, a sun squirrel and a mongoose, who would punish her cruelly even if she did exactly what she was told to do by them perfectly and flawlessly. They were also cruel to the other slaves in her work group and in had a special particular way of torment them. The squirrel was a rapist and the mongoose was a paranoid creature and always thought the slaves were planning a revolt of some kind, causing unlucky beasts to be subjected to hours of torture for information that didn't exist. Fortunately, Veska never suffered either of their special treatments because the squirrel wasn't interested in females of the reptilian kind and the mongoose thought no beast would trust or like a lizard enough to share secrets and plans with. (She was the only lizard in her group.)
Unfortunately for the mongoose, karma would catch up to him while feeding the slaves, typically. Slavemasters had two doors to each squarish slave cage, one to the side so the slaves could be contained and retrieved and one on top so masters would drop food and lower buckets of water down to the slaves without them being able to potentially make a break for it due to the door being far out of their reach. When the mongoose opened the top of Veska's cage and taunted her by dangling a dead seagull just out of her reach. He had never known that Veska had been noting his habits every single day and realized that he liked to bend in and lower the food as close to where the slaves can reach while jumping as he possibly can so he could enjoy their misery even more.
Veska jumped for the gull, but came up significantly short, the mongoose laughed at her and taunted her about how hungry she must be and lowered the gull, she jumped again and still came up sort, again, she was taunted and laughed at and the gull was lowered. The mongoose's head now was through the top door and in her cage, she jumped for the gull again, but this time changed the amount of strength she put into her jump and came up short again. The mongoose was enjoying himself, he lowered the gull even farther, what he believe was just out of her reach, just enough for her to cut it with one of her claws. His shoulders were through the door now. Veska lowered herself, bracing all the muscles in her legs and even her tail. She had her most powerful jump ready.
She jumped with all her might, more than enough to get the gull, but she never got close to the gull, she struck the side of her cage instead with such force that the cage shook violently and the mongoose overbalanced and fell screaming into her cage. He attempted to use the natural swiftness known to his race to get back up and to defend himself, but she was already on him before he could get off his back….
When the outraged sun squirrel found him in all his intestinal glory the next mourning, he immediately gave Veska the death penalty. She had just signed her own death warrant. While his underlings were moving her cage outside however, he was met by a young adult pine marten who, fascinated by the lizard he beheld in her cage. Attempted to convince him to sell her and any other monitor like her over to him, at first. The sun squirrel attempted to write him off and convince him that she is not for sell and that she was too dangerous to be owned by any beast, the marten persisted and the squirrel finally lost his patience. He turned around to look him in the eyes and nail it into his stubborn and foolish mind that the lizard was not for sale, period and to scream for his guards to remove him from his sight. However, when he looked the marten in the eyes, he instead ended up selling Veska and all monitors he had in his possession to him and even informed the martin of fellow clients who also own monitor lizards like Veska.
When Pan told the monitor her fate from than on, Veska immediately agreed to serve him. It wasn't like she was going to be able to fight her way through a small army of trident rats and even if she managed to escape, where would she go? At the end of the day, she would rather be a soldier than a slave.
Veska wasn't prepared for the hail of immense benefits she would receive in exchange for her willing cooperation with the pine marten. Not only was she never put in chains and shackles again, but Pan saw fit to give her the position of leading the reinstated monitor shock troopers which thanks to the slave market, would eventually grow to two hundred total. Veska thought originally she would have to fight for the position and keep fighting to keep it, but strangely. She was never challenged by her fellow monitors.
The start of her career did not go too pleasantly, although she had been out to sea once before, she didn't stray far from the shore and when she got taken to the Desert Peninsula, it was still warm temperature. This time, the weather changed constantly and she and the rest of her fellow monitors were constantly sick during their trip to Sampetra. Much to Pan's dismay, several would die during the trip, however. Veska and many others were strong enough to survive and see the shores of Sampetra. It was an experience Veska would never forget due to how nervous it made her the first time she saw the unruly corsairs. Sure, she had met pirates before, she bought fishing supplies from a city populated by felines who made it their heritage, but they never behaved like these sea scum did. She thought if it wasn't for the trident rats, the mob of corsairs would likely try to have a go at her and her fellow monitors.
However, it didn't take long for her to realize that the corsairs were actually scared of her kind. On the first day when they were being escorted to the palace, corsairs willingly moved out of their path like minnows getting out of a shark's way. Something she had never had happen to her up until now, she would find out many more new and interesting things about living in what appeared to be an entirely new world. For the next few years, she learned any things about the island of Sampetra and about her new master. Most of them revolved around smashing small slave rebellions and enforcing security when corsairs got rowdy, she found the corsairs to be master liars and when that failed them, the scared beasts typically attempted to bribe their way out of a situation. Strict to her duty, she never let them escape their crimes.
Eventually, she would become one of the older members of Pan's staff that was still alive. Her relationships with the other beasts serving Pan's inner circle varied, despite the fact Veska is hated and feared by most beasts who come and go to or live on Sampetra, the monitor found comforting company in the form of the emperor's Imperial Physician. Desmora, although at first she was distrusting of the vixen, she grew to find great comfort in her company and her kind nature and Desmora would from than on not only served has her healer, but also her psychiatrist whenever the lizard felt overwhelmed by her job and the cold attitudes directed towards her by the corsairs, sometimes even a member of her fellow palace staff, a Marlfox known as Kawldkan, would use his position as Spymaster to mess with her. She grew to greatly dislike him for his psychological cruelty towards her at times.
As for the rest, she found the stoat Achenar to be a untrustworthy creature, he had been very polite to her when she first met him and in time found this behavior to be suspicious, she wonder if there was a great grand scheme he was planning on pulling on the monitor that would surely ruin her and maybe even end her life, She disliked Zeke for his cowardice and views him as a complete waste, however. She found worst beasts to dislike even more than the searat which came in the forms of Raknak Raggedtooth and the even more dreaded Kawldkan! Raknak had been a recent addition to the palace staff, replacing the previous trident rat leader after he had died defending the emperor during one of his travels from the island, the rat had never been a friend of the monitor per se, but he was professional and typically worked together well with Veska and made both their jobs easier in the process, she liked him for those reasons and had tried to save him when he was being overwhelm by savage toads, she failed however and was not even allowed to try and retrieve his body afterward. Pan didn't mourn or care to much for the rat who gave his own life to save him and had ordered her to not even bother, it didn't take too long for the pine marten to find Raknak and promote him as the now current captain of the trident rats, he was inferior to the previous rat in every way in the monitor's eyes and thanks to his repulsive attitude. Veska didn't want to work with him, this put a wedge between the trident rats and the monitor shock troopers and she knew this would be a weakness that sooner or later, the corsairs would realize and constantly try to take advantage of.
Despite all this, Raknak was hardly the worst thing that has happened to her or to Sampetra, Raknak was a repulsive creature, but at least he was hardly a threat to her life in any manner and he had no dangerous ambitions beyond being captain of the trident rats. Although greatrats were a subspecies that was twice the size of a normal rat, he was still hardly a match for her in a straight up fight. All of their arguments when they came never resulted to physical blows, so she knew that he didn't have the guts to fight her and he would have to if he wanted the throne. Raknak was also not just repulsive to her, but towards other beasts as well, especially the common corsairs. The last trident rat captain lasted twelve years because he was a fair creature and corsairs begrudgingly respected him for it. Raknak was horribly corrupt and because of this, Veska firmly believes that he will not last two more years before he finally pays the ultimate price for his corrupt behavior, maybe he will pay even sooner if she is lucky.
No.... There was far worse and it came with a name she has learned to dread in the most recent part of her existence. Kawldkan! Just the mere mention of his name made her miserable, Kawldkan had been around for three years now and to this very day, she isn't sure if she had wronged the Marlfox in any manner, if he was just that cruel towards other beasts like Raknak was or if he had dangerous aspirations of greatness and was indirectly trying to have her killed and out of the way. 'Indirect' is best way to describe just how the Marlfox made her life difficult. She rarely saw him, and spoke to him even less. Yet every other day there was a murder, conspiracy or slave unrest to investigate, Veska could sense that the spymaster had already begun his shady work before she even arrived. She knew he had many eyes, ears, and whispering tongues working for him, and she had access to none of their secrets. Veska worked tirelessly to bring justice to the island, but Kawldkan's claws always struck before hers. The worst part was Pantaleon didn't care how the situations were fixed, just that somebeast fixed them and gave him all the credit for keeping order. Sometimes it would become so bad that it threatened to overwhelm her, she would remember how nonchalantly Pantaleon replaced his last trident rat captain without shedding a tear and knows that could be her, except that she would likely be killed by the emperor himself under his supernatural gaze for failing too often or by looking too useless in his eyes. She felt the Marlfox was slowly, but surely murdering her. Slowly torturing her to death. Sometimes she had thought about breaking the very rules she constantly worked so hard to enforce and killing him herself, she thought about every possible method and scenario and whether she could get away with it or be found out in all of them. She wanted to do it, so he wouldn't be able to 'murder' her and get away with it, she dreaded to think what Sampetra would turn into afterwards if she died. Kawldkan and Raknak Raggedtooth were hardly worthy of keeping the peace in Sampetra._
Monitor Lizard (Appearance of a Blue-spotted tree monitor)
Panteleon Radzi's right hand and the leader of his monitor shock troopers
_Only the largest and strongest monitors earn the right to be leading the other monitors when Pan isn't around to do so and Veska is the biggest of the lot, capable of licking any three of her fellow monitors with her claws, fangs and tail alone. She is the biggest and meanest thing on Sampetra.
Veska along with all the other monitors in Sampetra, is black and dark almost glowing blue in color that is a combination of spots and stripes with a white underside. She also has a very long tail that can be used at will as a vicious whip that can strike with enough force to break a beast's neck and fearsome eyes that are of the most concentrated color of amber, almost red in appearance. Her teeth are like serrated razors, but usually partially hidden in her gums and her claws are like fire smoked black sickles, perfect for climbing….. and ripping flesh from bone.
There is a noticeable difference between her and the other monitors though besides size differences, her head and part of her neck is actually covered in almost glowing blue feathers. At first, it looks natural, but in reality. They are a type of many, many piercings that are a lot like a stud piercing, but instead of a stud, it's a short fire smoked metal tube that each fits a blue feather of a common kingfisher and is secured with two screws each thanks to four holes on the tubes. (It basically gives Veska a raptor mohawk. = P )
Veska has suffered several scars, but surprisingly. Not many of them came from corsairs, during her time in the Desert Peninsula nation of the far west before Pan bought her, her slavers liked abusing their slaves and have lashed her many times with a whip and iron rod.
Another interest of note is that Veska's breath smell significantly less horrid than most other monitors, her breath still smells bad, but is more tolerable. This came from a willingness to drink peppermint tea on a daily basis to please her pine marten master, at first. She hated the taste, but in time it has came to grow on her and now she almost always take every chance she gets to drink a glass of it._
_Veska is already a formidable weapon herself, but she is also trained with several weapons. Particularly the monitor lizard's main issued weapon, the lance. She also knew how to effectively use a net for combat purposes as well and the trident in case it was necessary. Thanks to Pan using her for mock duels, she became familiar with many swords, some she liked less than others. In the end, Veska found her two most favorite weapons were a cleaver blade falchion and bolas made from iron balls and steel chains. She compliments the use of a sword with a metal targe.
Veska's only visible articles of clothing is a silk khalat robe that reaches down above her ankle and is worn with the sleeves rolled up past the elbows and completely buttoned up and secured with a belt and sheath made from dyed black ray skin. The khalat, like all the others, is custom made for the monitor and uses unique embroidered patterns that no other such robes have, the dark green embroidering resembles the leaves of a particular species of tree (Jubaea) which is grown in Sampetra for it's sap, which can be made into an exotic wine. It is a brilliant blue and purple, giving the impression of a night sky just as the set finally sets out of sight and disappears completely. The borders of the khalat are black. Finally, the khalat's shoulders, upper back and chest are covered by dark dull gray, hexagonal plated chainmail that provides decent protection against the curved blades that corsairs constantly carry with them during their visits to Sampetra.
Underneath the robe, there was hidden added protection. Some quilted, cotton, sleeveless armor that had been soaked in brine and left to dry under shade, causing the salt to crystallize inside, an old trick she learned from an old, experienced bat-eared cat whos kind have used it for protection when engaging in piracy as it proved very effective at protecting against arrows and poison darts._
_Veska is easily the strongest and scariest creature walking on top of Sampetra's surface. Usually just the sight of her settles arguments and fights, she is so feared by most of the visitors of Sampetra that crowds of them typically part and give her plenty of space to move. All the while grateful they are not her targets yet have nothing but pity for those who have caused enough trouble to warrant her hunting for them.
Veska's strength also makes her one of the best ranged throwers on the island, while she is great with any throwing weapon. Bolas were her specialty, she was capable of throwing them much farther than any other beast and was able to throw them with such force that they could fly through the air faster than some eyes can follow. There were times where she 'stole' Raknak's potential prisoners with them that up until that point, had been giving the greatrat a good long run for his ducats._
_Veska, being a reptile, suffers from the penalties of being cold blooded. In cold enough temperature, she can turn sluggish and even become severely sick, monitors can die if they become too cold for too long. Fortunately, Sampetra rarely has any such weather so Veska has never suffered under the cold grip of nature during her time there. She would much rather like to keep it that way too.
Veska isn't very charismatic, though she can convince beasts to see things her way. It is never with the smooth talking diplomacy that Pan is a natural at doing, Instead, it is with sheer intimidating prowess. Many beasts fear her, which means they also hate her. Veska has very, very few friends in Sampetra. Even her monitors are not her friends, they only follow her out of fear and also because Pan hypnotized them too. Not many beasts on Sampetra would mourn if she suddenly died one day…._
Veska is a very bitter, stubborn and especially adamant creature. No corsair, no slave, no treasonous beast has ever succeeded in bribing or convincing her to turn on Pan or ignore a crime they did. She takes her job very seriously, mainly because it's really all she has besides the clothes on her back. It's not like she could leave Sampetra and make a life for herself if she wanted, no corsair would dare let her on their ship. She also has very good common sense and is fairly good at telling if a beast is trying to lie to her or not, as her appearance makes it hard for her victims to keep their nerves calm and their story straight. In recent years, Veska has been suffering from paranoia and for the first time, fear, of Pan due to the realization of his hypnotic powers. (She was unaware of it for a time because his gaze did not effect her due to her stubborn nature. She never really disobeyed him however because of how seriously she takes her job and because of this, Pan is actually still oblivious to her 'gift.')
"Stay close together, no wandering off. I know there's lots to see, but we are here to do a job. There'll be more shore leave if we can make peaceful contact with the Emperor. Let's go!" Ryker followed the wildcat captain along with the rest of the party down the gangplank and onto the hard wooden plants of the jetty they had roped the ship to, Ryker was hit with a tidal wave of nostalgia, however. His thoughts were not sailing back to the good ol' days. They were on his new company and the fact he had no way to conceal his identity now. He had been caught up in the moment of giving Nerissa his cloak that he had not thought to warn Laverna about how to behave around corsairs nor on what to say when corsairs or natives that knew him questioned him about his new captain and who the rest of his new crew are.
He wanted to say something right than and there to Laverna, but they had already been met by the toll beast, a big fat stoat. He had encountered him plenty of times when he served Captain Crableg and he was one of the last beasts he wanted to meet again. The beast had the sunny attitude of a graveyard keeper and a waddle like a waterlogged duck. Ryker and his captain have in the past had altercations with him over the stoat's constantly changing toll price and because of this, he wisely positioned himself in between several other beasts so the stoat wouldn't notice him and become extra pissy.
' Please don't kill him in front of everyone Laverna…' He thought.
"'s three-sevenny-five ducats moorin' fee. By order o' the Emprah." Twenty more ducats than usual. 'Oh you slimy sack of shark shit….' The seacat thought as he suppressed the urge to call out the stoat and argue with him, mainly because he didn't want Laverna to respond to the realization with retaliation and cause them to become banned from the island, besides. The stoat has charged even more than that before….
Laverna's reply cheered him up though, actually tickling his funny bone. "We have gold, will that do?" 'Of course that will do captain, gold works with EVERYTHING!' The cat's conscience noted in the back of his brain. A smile threatened to tug his lips at the thought.
"Go t'the dock purser wiv the gold. Welcome t'Sampetra, pay yer debts or I'll break yer knees."
He was shocked on how calmly and well his new captain was taking this. His old captain would have replied to the stoat's threat with something along the lines of raping his mother and than jamming her head on the bowsprit so that stoat could see his dead mother's smiling decomposing face the next time they sail into Sampetra.
When they got moving again, Ryker quickly got back to his original position of following closely behind Laverna, he wasn't the only one. That one dog fox was also with her, he kept forgetting his name. Nerissa would have to remind him when they got together again, for now though. It appeared that the vixen was at the back of the pack, likely trying to keep as much of herself out of visible eyes as possible. He hardly blamed her.
"Er, I'd advice growling like a corsair again, captain," It was the dog fox he heard, he could hear the nervousness in his voice, he had been like that even before they left the ship. "You do it too gently." 'Oh for-' "She's fine, believe it or not. You are going to see corsairs of many shapes, sizes, races and especially accents. Sampetra is a popular spot for corsairs from all ends of the sea."
Just before they made it inland, Ryker heard Ranjit say something that caused roars of laughter in the pack, even Nerissa laughed when she heard it. Ranjit was a ferret who had a special talent for snarky comments and comebacks.
"Dat waz a good 'un! Pay yar debts or i'll break yer knees! That pompous whale couldn't bend over to put 'is boots on! I seen pregnant beasts that wurnt as fat as 'im! He could'nt bend over enough ta break yer elbows! Ahhhhahahaha!!!!!"
When they finally made it inland, Ryker was greeted with the sights and sounds of more pure nostalgia. Sampetra had not changed one little bit, especially with the drunken violence as he noticed Laverna watching one right now. He watched that duel with her as the rat and stoat fought each other with cutlasses. His conscience spoke his exact thought. 'Ten gold coins on the stoat, he looks like he could take on four rats and win.' Unfortunately, his mental mention of the word 'rats' ended up jinxing him as he noticed Laverna's attention turn elsewhere.
"Ryker? Some old friends of yours?"
"Hardly, it's ol' bossy breeches 'imself. He is called Raknak Raggedteeth…... or tooth.... Whichever, he's the emperor's left paw and leader of a type of authority on this island known as 'The Trident Rats.' None of us corsairs like 'im."
They both watched as the greatrat and his posse broke up the duel, The two duelists ended up being led away in chains much to his disgust. Those two wouldn't likely be going back out to sea for a long time if they are lowley crew mates, he pitied them.
Eventually Laverna had enough of the scene and the party walked on to the pay shack, it was about as much of an eyesore as he remembered it, nobeast ever bothered to clean it. Nobeast.
"Perrin, take the gold and deal with this mooring fee business." Ryker gave Perrin a wave as he and two ferrets made off to the shack with a chest full of cold before turning his attention back to Raknak and his posse, they were already approaching Laverna, Raknak was always interested in messing with newcomers. He was especially curious about his new captain, he knew it. Raknak had a savage grin like White Death, he certainly had the muzzle and nose to go with the look. All he lacked was the black abysmal eyes….
"Ahoy there, are ye not the mistress of that fine schooner with the white star ensign? " 'Here we go….' was his thought. "Such a pretty vessel, such fine lines. What port might ye've sailed from?" He debated inwardly if he should get himself involved in the conversation or not, quickly. He decided it would be wiser to let Laverna handle him herself.
"We have come from the Northlands, captain…?"
"Raknak. They call me Raknak Raggedtooth," the greatrat finished, giving her a wide grin and showing off his gold fillings. "Yer face is not familiar, have ye made port here before, miss...?"
"Captain Laverna," Ryker grinned inside his mind, he had made the right call. She was more than capable of keeping the rat on his toes. "I have sailed here to see the Emperor."
"Really? I'm sure an offer to join his fleet would most entertain him," Raknak said smoothly, "but he does require experienced captains, beasts who have seasons before the mast and blood staining their blades. Not some young maiden who can't keep her lads in line."
Laverna bared her teeth. "My crew weren't the ones brawling in the streets!"
Ryker noticed the greatrat wasn't keeping eye contact with her anymore, he was looking over her shoulder instead. He followed the rat's gaze and turned around towards the purser's office.
Although Ryker heard Laverna whisper the name under her breath and chased after her, shame burned his face and turned the inside of his ears orange-red at failing to pick up anything going on at the office. Normally at this distance, his sensitive and large ears would easily detect any sounds out of the ordinary, but here. There was so much activity, so much noise, so much ruckus. There was no way he could have heard what had happened at the office. He didn't bother to draw his weapon when he entered the building with her, he knew they were too late, the mess inside confirmed it.
Nerissa knew beasts were hurt inside the building before she even entered alongside Ryker, Laverna and a few other beasts. She called it instinct, Though whether it was due to his Ice and Snow heritage or because of her experience as a healer was up for debate…. Maybe it was both...
The vixen already noticed the ferret before Laverna did, she looked towards both the wildcat and Ryker for direction. Laverna was the one who gestured the command, that was all she required. She sheathed her scythe sword and axe as she stepped towards the unconscious beast, he didn't look bad, most likely will not suffer more than a concussion and a throbbing headache. However, Nerissa knew that there could be always more than the eye can see.
Crouching down on one knee, she gently grasped the ferret's head in her hands and examined the damage, there was a good sized knot near the stop of the skull, just above the ferret's right eye. 'Most likely from the pommel of a sword….' She felt the knot and the area around it, nothing gave. 'The skull was not fractured….' That was good news, that gave him a much higher chance of survival for a blow to the head, she tipped the head down, no blood leaked out of the nose or mouth. 'May not have suffered damage to the brain….' She was sure of her diagnosis, he'll be fine. Wake up with a painful headache and have stay awake for awhile due to the possibility of dying from the concussion, but should recover fine…. She pondered if she should cut the knot to let some of the blood leak out, would ease the pressure....
"Oh, Perrin," Ryker's ears picked up Laverna's mutter, however. he was not thinking the same thing as her, he assumed that a small group of corsairs saw the chest and got the idea to steal it along with the three beast team escorting it in cause it went down to a hostage situation. Typically the trident rats and monitors keep tabs on every ship docked when a significantly big crime has taken place so they could catch the culprits, however. There were cases where the troublemakers took a trident rat as a hostage or high ranked members of a corsair crew and used them as effective bargining chips to escape custody, obviously though. That would be the last time they could do so, wise beasts who pulled this off never came back to Sampetra again.
'That is what must have happened here….' He thought, his pondering was interrupted by Laverna.
"Ryker, take who you need and find them. The beast that brings them back alive will be rewarded." Ryker opened his muzzle to respond, but Raknak came just in time to interrupt him. "Deserters, eh? Shame," 'Brilliant…'
"I suppose we could order all ships in port to conduct a search for three stowaways. But…"
Ryker watched in hidden disgust as the greatrat licked his teeth and grinned wider. "Any deserter taken into our custody must be hanged immediately from the yardarm of the ship he's found aboard."
"If I find them, Captain Raknak, they'll wish it was that simple."
"I look forward to seeing that, captain." Finally the rat left for good and gave Ryker and his captain some peace, In two incidents, he now hated Raknak more than he ever had before, he hoped someday the Raknak's attitude would take a beast too far and get him killed in the process, he wished more than anything that beast would be Veska. Those two never got along.
"Nerissa, get the full story out of him. Ryker…" The vixen didn't turn around when Laverna spoke to her, only gave her ear a tug and gave a typical 'Yes Captain' as she kept her attention on the ferret, the ferret was indeed coming around. She turned around to call a few of her 'crew.' "Can anybeast spare thy canteen?" The fox that gave her his canteen was noneother than Matlock himself, she quickly snatched the container from his hand and uncorked it before holding it to the ferret's muzzle. The ferret ended up coughing when he attempted to drink with the canteen's liquid cargo pouring straight down to his throat, Nerissa quickly withdrew the canteen and spoke to the battered beast. "Tell me what events took place here."
The ferret took a moment to clear his throat, when he finally finished coughing he replied in a faint tone. "Two…. ferrets... an' a weasel. They both came in wid a chest. Dey sat it down over dare and when the weasel started chattin' with me.... I dun' know.... I dun remem'er what happin' after that...."
Nerissa nodded and stood up from him, leaving the canteen by his side and walked back towards Ryker, by the look on his face, his conversaion with Laverna wasn't a good one, Nerissa hadn't heard it because she had been focused on her patient. "What did she say?" " Our orders, we are going on a scavenger hunt and the prize is that chest and three beasts. Get Ranjit and four more beasts, We move as soon as possible…."
It didn't take long for Nerissa to find him the four extra beasts along with Ranjit, one of them was the dog fox that was always near Laverna, again. He failed to remember his name. "Alright beasts, we have three beasts and a chest hidden in one of the biggest corsair attractions in the seas, we got a lot of ground to cover and the sooner we start, the better. Lets go." The cat silently sighed. 'This is going to be like findin' a minnow in a shark's intestines…'
As they quickly left the crime scene, Ryker caught Ranjit saying non-too-quietly…
"Hell's Gates! Dat waz one ugly rat! Didya see 'is face? Looked like he tongue kissed a squid 'n the beak! Ahhhhhhhhahahahahaha!!!!!!"
Ryker was leaving his armor behind in his cabin for this trip, it wasn't out of place for corsairs to wear a type of 'light' armor, but he didn't quite enjoy the idea of burning up under a chainmail shirt or scale armor. He was also going to leave behind his bandanna for a hooded (though rather a bit worn and tattered) gray cloak. It was an article of clothing he did not wear to often, but for today, it would serve to help keep him almost completely anonymous and to keep the sun out of his face. For the most part though, he hardly changed much in appearance. He still had friends and associates who either lived on the island or came there from time to time and he wasn't in any particular mood to be forced to explain himself on what happened to his former captain and the crew and who was the new company he was now traveling with….
He snorted. Yeah, that would be a pleasant thing to explain to them, especially the part where he joins in with a wildcat society that thinks of them as inferior to felines. Though now that he thought about the possibility of such a situation happening, his mind quickly started thinking up a convincing lie about Laverna and her subordinates. Nothing would be more trouble than a town full of angry and insulted corsairs, throw in trident rats and lizards and it would become a literal Hellgates.
The sea cat sighed, that would be another thing he would have to remember to do, teach Laverna that whatever habits she took up during her life in the Northlands didn't mean anything in corsair territory. To them, she wasn't anything more special than themselves and if she was inclined to verbally disagree, she would likely face a tidal wave of cutlasses....
He left his cabin and upon walking out into the quarterdeck, noticed the company they were bringing along. Around twenty strong, it shocked him how Laverna had such faith in her control over these creatures, at any moment during their trip into town. They could make themselves disappear into the crowd and escape forever if they wanted too....
"Ryker! Ready to go ashore?" A friendly and familiar voice called out to him. Ryker smiled, it was Perrin, Laverna's personal servant and a close friend of his. He turned to see both the weasel and Laverna coming out onto the quarterdeck, they had decked themselves out as best as they could as corsairs and…. they did a pretty good job actually. He could hardly imagine them being this entirely good at looking like corsairs and working a ship like them, but like always. The discipline and order of this pack continued to surprise him.
"Not yet, we are still missing-" the sea cat's face suddenly gave a look of shock and than he covered his gaping mouth with both hands. A gasp had escaped his throat, but than it was replaced by snickering. He had saw Nerissa come out into the quarterdeck after her furcut and it was a sight to behold. The beast who did the shearing was painfully terrible at doing so. Ryker had not seen the other natives of the Land of Ice and Snow coming out since it came time for their shearing, but now after seeing Nerissa. He wasn't surprised why.
He finally controlled himself and than proceeded to take his cloak off, he didn't need it nearly as bad as the white vixen did now....
"Here, you can have it. I think you need it more than I ever would at the moment..." In a flash the garment was whisked away from his paw and the snow vixen had it on in a matter of moments, unfortunately for her. It was not fast enough. A cruel laughter was heard and several beasts started to uncontrollably chuckle and giggle soon after. He knew who's laugh it was. Ryker thought of turning around and giving Ranjit a silencing glare, but really. He had hardly treated the situation any better than the ferret....
Nerissa did not have a very good furcut. It was very rare to require or want furcuts in the Northlands and doubly so in the Land of Ice and Snow, so when it was finally needed to be able to step footpaw into Sampetra. Almost none of the beasts had any experience at it. She however, had been one of the lucky ones. The shearbeast had known Nerissa was a 'special beast' and actually attempted to do his very best to do a nice, even furcut to avoid the wrath of Ryker had she came to him with a missing ear or something, but his best efforts were still lacking and even though he had successfully trimmed Nerissa down to a comfortable length. Her fur was uneven in many, many places. It made her look like a very awkward piece of artwork (kinda like a Picasso painting ) and she didn't have to look in a mirror to get a good idea on how bad she must look, she could just feel it in her soul! Fortunately, she had successfully argued tooth and claw to keep her hair intact and untouched. It was an uncommon feature for beasts to have hair, but like beasts with beards. It was not a impossibility in the slightest, Nerissa was one of those gifted with hair that she had styled into a braided ponytail. For a slave with not many things to have nor right to have ownership over, it was her pride and joy. After she was finally trimmed down, she got dressed back into her corsair outfit, which consisted of a pair of light gray almost silver colored breeches and a purple and black sash, she also made note to grab and wear a darkish blue shirt with long sleeves to cover her poorly trimmed arms. To add to the corsair look, she had found and put in a couple of silver hooped earrings. (An article of wear she had not worn in a while since one of the cat knights demanded her last ones out of spite) Unfortunately much to her dismay, the crew had taken all of the boots…. When she had finally got done playing dress up, she grabbed a new weapon she acquired, a boarding ax to go along with her sword and made her way up to the quarterdeck....
However, The feeling in her soul about her furcut only got worse when she walked out onto the quarterdeck and was immediately greeted with a gasp and than tiny fits of near silent laughter. She had been hoping silently to herself that it was not too noticeable, but unfortunately. Hope favored only certain beasts with problems. She saw the beast who was making the sounds and her heart sunk, she knew now it had to be bad if the beast she saw as a friend was trying hard not to laugh at her and failing miserably. With a shaky arm, she watched cat discarded his cloak and offer the wear to her.
"Here, you can have it. I think you need it more than I ever would at the moment…"She snatched the cloak out of his offering paw in a instant and put on the garment, wrapping it about herself and securing it with several buttons, unfortunately. A much less restricted and unsympathetic laughter sounded out partway through her attempt to hide her bad fur day and though it proved contagious and caused a few other beasts to start laughing aswell, she knew immediately who the culprit was. It was the laughter of a ferret that to this day made her wonder why she was on friendly terms with along with Ryker. Ranjit!
She caught sight of him in the crowd of other beasts and fixed him with a hateful glare, but the ferret simply smiled back at her in response. Unlike Ryker, the vixen knew that the war slave hardly had any regret for his act of disrespect towards her, which made her want to skewer him on her sword. Ranjit wasn't always like this, but when he was that way thanks to not having anything better to do. She found it to be a rather excruciating experience to deal with…..
With a sigh, she tucked the hood over her head and took her place next to Ryker and waited patiently for their call to go off board....
Ranjit had been the luckiest out of the three, he didn't have anything at all to worry about. It was good to be both as newcomer to Sampetra and a ferret. Although he found boredom and frustration at his job on the ship being basically to do absolutely nothing, he was rather happy and smug about that fact that all he had to do in preparation to walk upon Sampetra itself was to simply change his clothes and trade in his mace for a rather wide tipped scimitar and a large gaff hook with the rope coiled around his arm, he had originally wanted the vicious fighting hook that the ship's former captain had owned, but he could never find it whenever he searched for it. He had been checking out several of the crew members from a distance to see if they may have the weapon on themselves, but eventually he gave up trying to find it as none of his prime suspects ever showed up with the hook on them…. Pity. Laverna or Nerissa must have chucked it over the railing of the ship along with its owner's paw when it was first found.
Typical of a creature like himself, the ferret had dressed himself up in a rather thuggish manner. He had a pair of old, worn brown leather boots, a pair of black and white striped breeches with a wide buckled belt, tucked into them was a dirty white shirt. Complete with a brown justacorps coat with one of the sleeves rolled up (the other untouched so it gave the impression that his gaff hook was actually a prosthetic hook) and tied closed waist height by a almost blood red sash. He also wore several bandannas of a burgundy color, but none of them were on his head, instead they were wrapped about his hands and forearms, his neck and on one of his boots due the several of its buckles and straps being damaged. His get up gave him a rather menacing and convincing appearance.
The war slave had been waiting along with the rest of the shore party when Nerissa came out, what a sight she was to see. She looked like something from a oil painting done by a drunkard! He had caught sight of her (thanks to Ryker offering his cloak to her) before she could hide her body inside a cloak, which caused him to immediately explode in scornful laughter. His laughter proved contagious and soon several other slaves started to chuckle and cackle as well. He had expected the vixen to not look so pretty after her shear treatment, but he never dreamed it would have been that bad! It was something he would never let down and it would be something that he could always think of whenever he felt bored or down. The day had started off boring as usual, but now things were suddenly taking a turn for the better. His trip through the seas had finally been worth something.
He was finally finding some excitement on this journey and was now looking forward to what other shenanigans he could witness on their walked through Sampetra.
Ryker was in on the quarterdeck, but he wasn't supervising for now, the captain and the sergeant that he had heard going by the name of 'Matlock', were enough eyes to keep everything going smoothly and personally, he didn't think it was that important and necessary anymore. It may have only been a few weeks since the Wildcat horde got their paws on The Bloody Barracuda, but already they were quite the organized and well educated crew. There had been hardly any issues during the entire trip and he doubted now that there would be any this day….
He stared out into the ocean blue, spotting and almost immediately identifying fish as they swam besides or under the ship. He liked doing that when he needed to think and reflect on previous events. Though rarely, he did also think about events happening now and now, finally. This was very much the case where he was thinking about now. Laverna wanted to go to Sampetra, he knew the island fairly well. His latter captain, Crableg for the chitin peg leg that used to tap about in rhythm with his one worn boot on the deck from what felt like seasons ago. Constantly took the crew including himself to Sampetra to gamble, drink all kinds of expensive and exotic boozes and grogs and finally, lay with the finest prostitutes taverns can provide in the world of corsairs. Sometimes they would also buy replacement harpoons and weapons and would also have the ship repaired from time to time. However, it always ended the same no matter what was and was not done during each and every single trip. Almost everybeast lost whatever loot he got from raiding the coasts and would wake up the next mourning with both a hangover and a feeling of regret for their uncontrollable spending. Though in Ryker's case, there had also been several times where he felt like kicking the captain's literal crab leg out from under him instead. Though he couldn't deny it, he had fun on every trip to Sampetra.
However, Ryker was not too excited to come back to Sampetra this time around, especially not with Laverna. Mostly because both of them have pasts that are not only drastically different from one another, but also lived societies and cultures that ideally butt heads with each other and go by very different rules and beliefs. One particular rule in Wildcat culture in the Northlands is that the feline race is superior to the 'vermin' races, the thought of bedding with any 'vermin' species would be shameful and disgraceful. However, in corsair culture. This was very common practice and most corsairs hardly cared if other beasts knew about such activities, because every other corsair pretty much has done the same thing. Ryker was not an exception to such a thing. Sure, he was already a favorite in the horde, buuuuut. If he was found out to have such 'personal' interaction with vermin races in the past. He would likely suffer terribly for this.... Especially if Claudia found out about it. He would never be ashamed of his past actions, but he did not like the idea of facing a wildcat's claws....
Another concerning reason his new captain. Laverna's a quick leaner, but she has only just began to get into the life of corsairs and its society. He worried if Sampetra would be too much for her to take in. Pretty much everything that reflects the corsair lifestyle was there and everything that fits wildcat society certainly was not. Laverna may suffer a severe case of culture shock...
"Land, ho!" He heard the shout that sounded like as if it came from the skies, but in reality it was coming from the mainmast. The sea cat turned just in time to see Laverna give him a look of sheer excitement right before she went speeding towards the mast shrouds. 'Might as well join her, even though I seen the place a dozen times before…' He thought as he took his time walking down the steps from the quarterdeck to the main deck, though he drastically increased his speed when he made it to the mast shrouds. Easily making it up to the crow's nest and catching up with the excited wildcat captain. Unfortunately, he was temporarily assaulted by a flood on bad memories when he climbed into the crow's nest. This is where he was hidden for days during that one fateful day when his crew got killed. for several days, he had relied on what was left of his grog and than when that ran out, his own urine. Even than, he has almost died from exposure and also from almost falling off the mast shrouds due to being so weak at the time when he tried to climb down them after the vixen had finally left the ship. Had he fallen, he surely would have hit the sand where the ship had bellied up onto shore and died instantly from impact.
Even though the crow's nest had long been cleaned, he still swore he smelled it all. Even if it wasn't actually there anymore. It was the smell of drunken foolishness and plenty of humiliation and regrets….
He shook the thoughts away quickly, it again. Wasn't a good time to dwell on the past at all. The future had some excitement and fun to be had....
"Two points off our starboard bow. Do you recognise it?" And some baby sitting….
"Aye Captain, that's Sampetra alright. I recognize that palace anywhere. Before you came along, Crableg used to make me and my maties all go there after a good day of lootin' and we would end up losin' a bunch of our shares on the island. There were many times I woke up angry with both a hang over and a urge to kick that chitin leg out from under him...." Despite what sounded like a negative portrayal of his former captain, the cat had a smile tugging at the sides of his muzzle.
Nerissa was also on the quarterdeck, about ten or so minutes ago. She was inside the ship caring for those who were suffering the effects of seasickness, as the sour smell leaking off from her forewarned. Though she wasn't hit directly by projectile bile, she had never been a creature to wear any form of foot wear and unfortunately. It was a fashion choice she finally paid dearly for, either the sick beasts had slumped over their beds and vomited at her feet or she had been forced to walk through it to attend to another sick patient. She made two mental notes to both wash her paws off when they reached shore and to ask Ryker to get her a pair of boots like he always wore. If they would going to be out sailing for a while, she really would prefer to sail without constantly reeking of somebeast's digestive system that had been at work….
"Land, ho!" She turned at the sound, but before she looked up to the ferret, her eyes caught the wildcat captain, Laverna. Excitedly speeding off to the mast shrouds and start her quick climb up, Ryker eventually following in stride. The white vixen smiled, it wasn't too far back when the wildcat wouldn't even dare try to do such a thing and would only climb up the 'lubber's holes' to the crow's nest. According to what Ryker had humorously told her in private, even though it had been there way before the horde ever took control of the vessel. It was typically frowned upon and outright mocked for any beast to use the lubber holes, even if the corsair was new to the deck. Had his former crew saw a big and strong beast such as Laverna actually use the lubber holes instead of the mast shrouds, they would have secretly shared the tale amongst both themselves and to other corsairs from different crews during their trips to islands like Sampetra and Terramort and would have had a good time laughing uproariously about it.
Another rather interesting thing Ryker had said to her involving the mast shrouds was that the former captain, Crableg. Had still used the mast shrouds instead of the lubber holes even after his incident which resulted in him losing most of one of his legs. Even more shocking was that despite the captain's handicap, he had never once fallen from the mast shrouds whenever he climbed up to the crow's nest. This was a ferret who had lost one of his legs just below the knee and was forced to learn how to walk 'flat footed' (Plantigrade-style locomotion) instead of 'on his toes' (Digitigrade-style locomotion) to be able to move correctly on a false leg made of crab chitin and he still refused to take the lubber holes. The thought of such a stubborn beast who would risk repeated chances of falling off and breaking his skull baffled the healer vixen….
"Good work, sailor. Sergeant! An extra ration of rum for this lad, as promised." She suddenly heard the wildcat call down to the fox sergeant that she easily knew as 'Matlock .' She never actually knew the fox personally and Ryker knew the fox even less than she. There were plenty of times either she or Perrin had to immediately remind him of the vulpine sergeant's name. She returned her attention to the felines in the crow's nest to see them speaking to each other, though this time Laverna's tone was normal and Ryker replied in the same manner. Nerissa was too far away to hear what they were talking about….
As she turned her head towards Sampetra, she suddenly frowned miserably as she was reminded of a rather unfortunate fact Ryker had shared with her along with the other snow foxes and ermine aboard the ship. Back at Mossflower country, it had been nearing winter and in preparation natural of their races due to where they came from. All of them have had their winter coats grown in, it hadn't been too noticeable when they had been sailing the seas, but now as they neared the tropical island of Sampetra. The all year around heat typically to the island would make itself known and she would have to either face a pair of shears, or possibly die from exposure from the heat. Even if she choose the stay in the ship. Although the vixen was not looking forward to her furcut, she would rather go through with it and get it all over with instead of burning to death from the inside.
She gave a sad groan and banged her head once on the wooden railing of the ship and rested it there....
The war ferret, Ranjit had like his two friends, been against the wooden railing at the foredeck of the schooner, however. Unlike them, he was not taking a 'break.' He was still on 'guard duty….'
The expression on his face would have told anybeast right away how he felt about that. Ranjit sure didn't feel like he was on guard duty and being prepared for a ship-to-ship battle with the native corsairs or the possibility of fighting some sea monster that may take interest in making a meal out of the ship. He felt like he had just been standing around idling away and taking a really long break. It made him wonder why Ryker loved being a corsair so much and why he thought it was such a 'exciting' life. Admittedly it was not a complete waste of his time. There had been rather exciting moments where Ryker and Laverna would take turns trying to catch native creatures like sharks and wolf fish, but all in all. It was too little for such a long trip. As much has he liked Ryker and his friends Nerissa and Perrin, he would have rather preferred to stay ashore with The Way Lady. Scouting through the Mossflower woods couldn't be anywhere near as boring as this. Especially when that wolverine showed up.
He suddenly found himself rather curious on how things went between The War Lady and the wolverine....
"Land, ho!" He heard a beast from the crow's nest, a ferret like himself, call out. He didn't even bother to turn his head to look up at the lookout, instead. He merely looked out ahead to see if he could spot it himself, but he was unable too. Maybe….
He turned around and headed to the other side of the foredeck. There! There it was! It was the place Ryker and Laverna kept calling 'Sampetra.' Ranjit wondered if maybe some of this 'excitement' that corsairs supposedly have was there. Judging what Ryker had told him about the island. There was a lot of 'excitement' there, especially in the taverns. He smiled at that little detail, maybe Laverna wouldn't care about him going into such places and seeing if he could get lucky, maybe start a violent brawl or two while he was at it....
His smile however, soon turned into a grim expression. Than again, maybe Ryker just thought it was all exciting and he would likely just be temporarily stranded in a place just as boring as this ship is.
"Good work, sailor. Sergeant! An extra ration of rum for this lad, as promised." Ranjit chuckled inwardly when he heard what Laverna shouted. 'Yeh, give the beast who is the highest off the ground some extra alcohol, i'm sore nothin' bad will come of it.' Was his thought. Well, least that would be bring some action on the ship, a drunken ferret jumping off the crow's nest believing he can fly just before he suddenly belly flops into the deck and dies. The thought made him laugh inwardly again. It was a rather cruel thing to think about, but he couldn't help but to find the scene playing out inside his head funny.
He finally raised himself off the railing and with a twisting motion, popped several bones in his spine. Might as well get himself prepared to get off the ship and have a little mini-adventure with Ryker and Laverna. The ferret war slave turned just in time to see Nerissa bang her head against the railing from the other side of the ship and grinned knowingly. 'Have fun with that furcut Nerissa. I know I will.' He again, made a mental imagine about the situation that will eventually happen and again forced himself not to laugh out loud. He thanked his spirits that his ancestors didn't come from the Land of Ice and Snow.
Rheda still had that smirk on her face, the beasts in the ramparts couldn't see it because she had lowered her head after she listened to the female squirrel try to lie her way out of their confrontation, but it wouldn't work. She knew these abbeybeasts had the stone now. She thought things were going to go smoothly now until the marlfox vixen heard something that made her ear twitch in disbelief and her smirk disappear from her muzzle….
"Wildgrass you say? Well getting formalities out of the way is a good place to start. I am Bradley Steelwall, ex-Champion of the Canyonland tribe before traveling far to here, my new home. I am this Abbey's new protector and Champion."
She could hardly believe what she just heard. '…....... What?' Was the only thought that entered the depths of her mind. The mouse that had spoken continued.
"You say a blue stone was stolen? I have not come across this stone you are seeking. I was busy tending to other matters when these travelers entered our Abbey. Had to pay my respects to a certain kind hearted creature who was struck down not too long ago. Something my friend back here isn't too happy about."
Rheda hardly caught the next bit however. She was still trying to process what he said before that. No…. That couldn't be right, or could it be? This is savage frontier, it really wouldn't be too unheard of if the stories about this place were true. When they spoke of the abbey, she merely thought it was primitive and ignorant fear toward a civilized structure. Instead, she found herself realizing that the Juska's fears of what should be a simple abbey may be indeed valid. But.... but a place of peace being full of warriors? What trickery was this!? If you want a place of fighters and warriors than why not build a castle or an actual fortress!?
She eventually recovered and again, kept ears on the exchange between the 'abbey' creatures and Chief Wildgrass. She did not give any more expression and did not give any say until the squirrel made them an offer....
"Alright, Here is my proposal, for the time being we can not give you back anyone or anything. But wait.."
The Marlfox turned her head back up just in time to see the female squirrel holding up her hand to prevent any sudden interruptions.
"I do give you my word that we will question the mouse-maid about the stone and if she does have it in her possession, convince her to return it to you so your mate can rest in peace, I would rather not start a war over this..stone."
'Uh oh….' Was the thought that entered her mind when she heard this. She knew the squirrel knew that the mouse had the stone and she also knew what was going on, she was trying to buy time for the Redwallers to set up whatever defenses they may have in that Abbey. She knew exactly which way the wind was blowing….
"Give us til the moon is full in the sky."
Four days…. The vixen knew, four long days of preparations, four long days to get everything prepared for war, four long days to get whatever surprise reinforcements they can, four long days to set up strategies and defense plans against them....
"During that time you will not raise a paw against this abby nor creatures living here or surrounding Mossflower, you may stay down at the ruined church. We in return will not attack your tribe. Does this suit you?"
Called it. This isn't going to work favorably for them if they actually take these terms and follow through them faithfully and blindly, but if they refuse these terms. They aren't going to have a second chance at negotiations. They had already lost the element of any surprise when Wildgrass had them marching up to the front gates with only a tiny, pitiful group. If these Abbeybeasts all had only half a brain they would still figure out rather quickly that they are not the only company they may be expecting.
Luckily for the Juska, the vixen's quick mind already had a nasty scheme in mind, they may end up getting the raw deal if they follow through with the terms that have been laid out for them, however….. These terms could be used to their advantage. The Redwallers did this to obviously buy them time to get geared up and ready, but the Juska and her brigands are already pretty much geared for war....
Before the weasel chief replied. She interrupted him by calling out to the Abbey creatures. "We accept the terms, we will come back when the moon is full!" She turned her head towards the weasel and spoke softly, but firmly. "Lets go...." She cocked her head one last time to look at the beasts on the Ramparts, a little more at the mouse and the others and than marched off....