Golly, one thing he would never miss when he was on the open road was waiting in line. But, the whole reason for lines was because there was something good at the other end, and so Celebes eagerly awaited in the group of beasts that streamed into the main pavilion. Eventually, the sea otter was at the front of the queue, and with a swagger in his step he came to the table. Making is mark, he realized yet again his writing had not improved a bit since he was a Dibbun, he could hardly read his name himself! But he supposed he earned his keep by delivering messages, not writing them.
Exiting the tent, Celebes strode a few paces inland, away from the water. The sandy shore was a wide one, from the waters edge at high tide to the vegetation that began to grow along the dunes, it was a good hundred meters. It had to be, with the amount of beasts that crowded along here. He had to go a good way from the shore to find a rock that had not already been claimed, but upon finding bare boulder he greedily plopped himself down on it.
The sea otter stuck his harpoon in the sand, watching it reverberate for a few moments in the sand. That pointy stick was goin' to win him a boat, no doubt about that. Celebes watched pensively at the small white piece of parchment fluttered in the sea breeze, which had been attached to his harpoon by a piece of string. He knew it bore in contestant number, 413, but he had no idea how he was going to keep it dry. Howz' he supposed to turn in his catch with a soppy, waterlogged tag? Bah, he'd figure it out. For now, he'd await the start of the excitement.
To even the most dedicated chronicler in Redwall, the lands of the north have always been somewhat of a blank space. While there were landmarks that were known, yes, as well as the general terrain, there was very little known of the beastd that abided there, and where they inhabited. This ignorance often leads to the assumption that the lands are scarce and dark, and the beast that live there, if not savage, then at least quite hardened. Nothing could be farther from the truth, that sunny day on the coast of the western sea.
It was time yet again for the annual Fishing Competition. While originally it was an even sponsored by otters, for otters, over the seasons many beasts have come to spectate and participate in the quite unique event. Beasts came from many miles away to witness the event that only happened once every four seasons, and among the young and ambitious, a chance to take part in what had become a prestigious sport. Of course, wherever there is beasts, there are beasts that try to sell to them, and it was not long after the even had gone from a humble contest to a grand competition that vendors of all sorts began to set up along the beach. A young squirrelmaid who started at one end of the pavilions that paralleled the seas and ran to the other end could expect to see no less than two circus troupes, four groups of singers, a knife maker, a fire eater, at least ten different bread sellers, countless stalls selling fishing tack, three sellers of blankets, countless vendors of other vittles, and the odd wandering hare that always hawked his latest batch of noonberry bread. It was a lot of commotion, and to make it to the other end and still have coins in your purse would be quite the accomplishment!
Of course, all of this would not have come to pass if it was not for the fishing competition, of which there was one event that mattered: who could catch the largest fish. Every year the fish to catch was different, last year it was grayling, this year it was cod. The fish was chosen in an elaborate ceremony that started the competition, where the skipper of the local otter tribe drew a small wooden representation of the fish of choice from an old fishing net. It was quite the affair. From there, all contestants had three days to find and land the biggest fish they could, measured by length from tail to snout. Otters were the among the largest body of contenders, but by no means were they always the best. For two years running the beast to beat was a hedgehog named Gallum, who’s skill throwing a harpoon from a boat has earned him quite the name along these shores. Squirrels, mice, shrews, a few rats, and a smattering of others were suited up and ready to either stand ashore or put to sea in small boats in order to see who would be the best, for the prize this year was coveted.
The prize, a single mast skiff, donated by the shrews, had been lovingly created by its makers as a work of beauty and practicality. Gilded carvings of sea creatures lined the outer rim of the vessel, which was large enough to hold a compliment of at least a half score of sailors, complete with a sail that was stitched with a image of a mighty shark. It was said to be a big enough boat to conquer the open sea, while still agile enough to manage the inland rivers. It was quite the prize.
Celebes the sea otter was glad to be in attendance this year, as a young pup he had remembered the festivities before his family had come to Redwall. He knew he had a few days to stay here at least, for of course every beast who had messages to send down the path with Celebes wanted to wait until they could share the news of who won. The sea otter knew he would have quite the load of mail on the return trip, but no matter. Perhaps with the boat, he could simply sail down the coast with his parcels! Yes, wouldn’t that be somethin’? Never mind he hadn’t fished on the high seas since he was a dibbun, he was an otter as good as any! Landing a cod here on a calm day like this couldn't be any harder than from the River Moss. He had his harpoon ready to go, now all there was for it was to go sign his name in!
Full Name: Celebes (sell-UH-bees)
Species: Sea Otter
Age: Young Adult
Job: Self-Styled Messenger of Mossflower
Celebes sports the usual characteristics of an otter of the sea. A fluffy white face, round sharp paws, and a long rudder of a tail are as found on Celebes as they would be on an of his extended family. Celebes isn't just a carbon copy sea otter though, he is a bit lankier, has blue eyes, and in his older years he talks with a distinct northern accent that can't be ignored. As a Dibbun, Celebes often sported a dark green smock, draping from neck to feet and cinched up around his waist by a short length of rope. This attire was only occasionally modified as festivals and dirty laundry require, but when at play he often girded up his loins by wrapping the lower parts of the smock that are below his knees up into the belt, so that he legs were free to run.
In his adult years, Celebes has done little to modify his dress, wearing a similar forest green tunic. It forms to his figure reasonably well, and he is able to keep a greater number of tools at hand by the leather belt that now finds itself above his hips, kept fastened in place by an obsessively shined brass buckle. As he is often on the road, the sea otter has chosen to protect his head from the sun by wearing a soft cap, slightly peaked, and with a visor that gently protrudes from the front. It is not too large, as his ears still make a showing out the sides of it, but it does give his eyes some shade. A modest bronze chain carrying an orange seashell about his neck completes the set, which dangles down to about mid-chest. Whether young or old, however, Celebes cares little about the mop of fur that is on top of his head, as its ruffled and ragged appearance would tell anyone.
Celebes prefers to travel as light as possible, so as to save his strength for the parchments and parcels he is apt to carry. Nevertheless, he does ensure that he always carries a filled canteen and a few days rations on his person.
If a time came where Celebes needed to defend himself, the sea otter would soon find his harpoon in his paws. Being a tool that he uses on a regular basis, Celebes is quite proficient at giving a stab to anything the size of a fish, getting anything bigger to aim at is just a bonus.
• Excellent memory, even if he is prone to embellishing the details
• High endurance, able to keep on his feet all day with only short rests scattered throughout
• Charming personality, often able to disarm potential foes merely seeking points of commonality. Then talking about them for a while. And then a while longer yet
• Self-Centered, he often has trouble seeing situations from other’s point of view, and thus can become quite stubborn in his beliefs
• Spontaneous, if excited enough he will throw caution to the wind and act before thinking. While the few times this actually works may be glamorized, more often than not this kind of behavior often leads to him face down in the mud somewhere
• Vengeful, Celebes does not let a grudge go easily, if a relationship ever deteriorates to that point. Perhaps it is the long hours of solitude he has to stew on incidents while on the road, but rarely is this otter the first one to offer his paw in forgiveness
Celebes is quite the motor maw, a habit gained as a Dibbun. If started on a subject that he likes, regardless if he knows it or not, this otter can keep talking until the catch comes in. Often running on long enough that he exhausts his pools of logic and coherent argument, Celebes has been known to ramble until either food gets shoved in his mouth or his mum threatens him with double bath duty. It’s not the water he hated, it’s that soap that got in his eyes. Around those who can stand to be around him he was really quite pleasurable, and is even able to restrain from hogging the conversation if good jokes are being swapped or a plan to steal a slice of red berry pie is being made. He was not a saintly child, but he isn't the first one to cause mischief. At least, not all the time.
As he matured, his gift of gab will serve him well in the self-styled trade of his choice, that of being the post runner of Mossflower. An enterprising career that he invented, as a post runner Celebes takes it upon himself to deliver messages to and from Redwall Abbey on a regular schedule. Communication has changed his own little world for the better, would it not do the same for Redwall to communicate with its wider world? Carrying both paper letters, small parcels, and verbal messages, Celebes will beat a somewhat consistent track from Redwall to Salamandastron via the South pass through the mountains, returning via the north running path to the River Moss on the return journey. Every three trips he makes it a point to visit the otters of Lutra to the north, and if the shrews are willing to meet him along his path through Mossflower he will gladly accept their messages as well. Of all the things he carries, the spoken word is his favorite. In recounting the messages that critters like to relay to each other across the leagues that separate them, Celebes is not above embellishing them, as long as enough of the truth is there.
Celebes was born off the coast to the Lutra tribe of the pearls fame, and his earliest memories consist of swimming in the endless current that were right in his backyard. The sea for all its glory, however, was not the safest place to be, and its splendor attracted sailors of the spurious sorts. In order to keep his family safe from the pirates, Celebes' father took his small family inland, eventually coming upon Redwall. Celebes, now old enough to be considered a Dibbun, quickly joined the ranks of the youth that terrorize kitchens and consider bedtime and insult. Although his mum always gave him an earful whenever he was caught with a smock full of pilfered blackberries, Celebes enjoyed his time growing up.
Reaching his adult years, Celebes by now had become quite expert at fishing with the harpoon, as a multitude of filleted graylings from the Abbey kitchen can attest to. However, the young sea otter would not be satisfied merely becoming the keeper of the abbey pond, and instead found himself wanting to return to his homeland and see what lay there. His parents by now too old to make the return journey, Celebes set off on his own, carrying their love and his harpoon as a walking staff. Upon trailblazing his way there, by very inefficient paths mind you, Celebes was able to find the colony of otters. It was by a note written by his father to the chief that he was recognized, and the sea otter was surprised to see the simple joy that a letter could make by shortening the gap between too distant friends. The chief at once asked for Celebes to return the correspondence to his father, and Celebes, finding out that fishing in the sea was much different than the calm of the rivers and ponds he was used to, agreed. It was not just the chief that laden Celebes with messages, for his father and mum had many friends in the tribe. Well, naturally, when he returned to the Abbey, his parents were overjoyed at the news, and wanted to write back and answer the questions and how-do's. Soon other curious Abbey dwellers got in on the scheme, and in no time at all there was such a demand for someone to go and visit the tribe again that Celebes volunteered to take the notes once more, even agreeing to take a note to the Badger Lord of Salamandastron from the Abbott.
And thus began Celebes' career of running the post. With a route soon established and timetables formed, the sea otter began to fill his niche with pleasure. He enjoyed being out on the road, and seeing the light in others' eyes when he delivered the news they had been waiting for. Sure the route was not always sunny Sunday stroll, but over the seasons the sea otter learned enough to know when to get off the road, when to judge a potential spot for an ambush by bandits, and when to find shelter from coming rains. There were times when his solitary beat was livened up with traveling companions, spry young critters wanting to see the world with the trailblazing otter. Not a one stayed around all that long, except one ottermaid from Lutra. Unlike the others who came and went like the passing stream, the ottermaid proved to be sure of paw and happy to come along on many of Celebes journeys, even helping to remember certain details of messages that Celebes "forgot." In some far-off season, perhaps he would give her a message of his own. But how would he get out a love poem without taking up the entire evening?