Honest Tom's Travelling Discount Merchants (Open)
((OOC: The profiles for Racket, Tom, Cissa, and Fiasco are here, and the profiles for Jojari and Sanjay are here. Note that I'm retconning Fiasco's history since the story arc war kind of died. Anyone is welcome, particularly Redwallers. ;D))
"Now remember yer lines, and don't rikkerfrisk this one up, Worm," Racket hissed.
The group of vermin certainly made quite a sight as they approached the gates of Redwall. They were a convoy of three covered carts on large wooden spoked wheels. On each cart's covering, the words 'Honest Tom's Travelling Discount Merchants' had been painted sloppily on. The 'Honest Tom' in question was leading the group. He was a weasel, known better to his friends by the unfortunate nickname of 'Worm'. Tom, or Worm as he was usually called, was the public face of the group, since he was the least frightening vermin any of them knew. Woodlanders were unlikely to trade with them if they were too intimidated, and the weak little weasel was the furthest you could be from intimidating. He wore a very gaudy looking tailcoated jacket with epaulettes, billowing pantaloons from the East, and he had a gold-topped cane clutched in his paw. He also had an odd little velvet cap on his head. It was a disguise of sorts, to make him look richer and fit into a higher class of society. Worm felt stupid in this getup though, and wished he could just wear his usual ragged clothes.
Behind Worm came Racket, pulling the first cart. Racket was the tall, broad fox that was the brains of the group. It had been his idea to start a travelling merchant group in the first place. Racket, Worm and Cissa, the rat that walked beside him, had originally been part of a vermin gang of thieves. When the gang had been split apart in an ambush, the trio had gone off on their own. It seemed passing around trinkets from one part of the country to the other was a far more lucrative option than stealing them, especially since 'honest' work allowed them to get into fancier locations with good food and comfortable beds. Racket had actually managed to find some faded orange pantaloons that fit him, since he had decided the group needed more acceptable outfits. He had dumped his old Long Patrol jacket for a long dark coat. It was frayed and muddied around the hem, and both sleeves had been torn off at the elbows. It was nowhere near big enough to button up over his thick chest and barrel-like belly. The fox liked it though, it had big inner pockets and was good at keeping things concealed. Racket had a hat on too; he had told the whole group to wear hats, it would make them look more sophisticated. His hat was broad brimmed, though the brim curved up at the sides. There were several broken feathers decorating it.
Behind this cart came another, being pulled by Sanjay. Sanjay was a blind fox, so he was being guided by his close friend Jojari. Jojari was a weasel who had been crippled and without the use of his legs ever since he was born. The two had found each other whilst in slavery, and escaped together. They were the moral centre of the group, since both of them absolutely forbade trading in slaves. They had run into Racket's group a few seasons ago, and Jojari had been able to prove to the fox his extended mercantile experience was invaluable. Jojari had previously travelled with a roaming group of merchants, so he knew the ins and outs of the business. Jojari sat atop this cart, calling out to Sanjay every so often in his light, piping voice. He was dressed only in rags, claiming they were comfortable enough for him. He had acquiesced to Racket's insistence they all wear hats, and put on a green hunting cap, with a single feather stuck through it. Sanjay usually only wore trousers, but Racket had given him a floppy wide-brimmed hat to cover his blind eyes.
The last beast in the troupe wore no hat. He had nearly bitten off Racket's arm when the fox had tried to force the issue. If the burly Racket wasn't enough to keep the travellers safe, Fiasco certainly was. Having a Feral Cat amongst the troupe was a blessing and a curse. He was a superb rear-guard, hence why he was pulling the last cart. He was fearsome, and trained in unarmed combat, which was very useful when a lot of camps and villages they visited prevented them from carrying weapons. The trouble was, Fiasco was a very moody young adult, with quick changes of temper that could occasionally land them in trouble. He also refused to wear any more clothes that a pair of cut-off breeches, and nothing else. It was an improvement from the loincloth and war-paint he had worn when he had first met the group. Surprisingly, out of all the beasts Fiasco could have befriended, it was Jojari the Feral Cat had bonded with the most. Perhaps it made sense, both were young, and Jojari knew when to talk and when to be quiet. They made strange friends, the hulking giant and the tiny cripple, but it was an arrangement that suited everybeast. The group still hadn't gotten the full story out of Fiasco as to where he had come from, but they gathered he had run away from his tribe.
So, it was a very odd collection of vermin that halted outside the gates of Redwall Abbey. Racket and Cissa were the oldest in the group, followed by Sanjay and Worm, and Fiasco and Jojari were the youngest. Worm dithered at the wooden gates, until Racket rolled his eyes and gave them a thorough pounding with his fist. His booming knocks stirred the Abbey to life. Everybeast's ears twitched as they heard the pattering of feet climbing up to the walltop. A furry face looked out from above them, and called, "Who goes there?"
"Ah, er, why, it's Honest Tom's Travelling Discount Merchants! Finest wares from Sampetra to Southsward! You know us, we were here last spring! We've got a few special orders from Redwall, delivered on time and in mint condition! So…uh... uh..." Worm faltered in his speech, eyeing Racket for prompting. The large fox rolled his eyes.
"So let the commerce commence," Racket growled quietly.
Worm nodded fervently, and finished his speech with a theatrical twirl of his cane. "So let the commerce commence!"
There was a moment of silence from the walltop. Then, the beast in charge of the gate realised he had seen the group before. This was not their first time in Redwall. "Oh, it's you bunch of loonies. I should've known you'd be back. Alright, come in, but we'll have to search your cart for weapons."
"Ha! Hahaha. Weapons," Worm said with a weak grin. Racket smirked, tugging idly at one of his ear piercings. Well, sure they could search for weapons. It was finding them that was the important part. Fiasco let out a yowl from the back as a group of otters opened the gates, and started poking around in the group's wares.
"You break it, I get mad," Fiasco warned the otter sniffing around his cart.
The otter put his paws on his hips. "Don't give me lip, cat. You're not in Redwall yet, and I suggest you keep your temper under control."
"Ahem," Jojari coughed politely from on top of the cart in front. "Begging your pardon, sir, but I'm sure dear Fiasco meant nothing by it. Only that if any of our merchandise is damaged during your inspection, we will expect full remuneration of the item's value."
"Yeah, the expression is 'You break it, you buy it', Fiasco," Sanjay called from the second cart. Fiasco glowered at the otter, but held his tongue.
The weapons search turned up nothing, though there was some debate on letting 'Honest Tom' keep his cane. Eventually he was let in with it, if only because the Redwallers reasoned that the weasel was hardly a force to be reckoned with, and there were already plenty of sturdy sticks in the Abbey grounds anyway. So, the band of merchants pulled their wagons into a semi-circle outside the abbey building, and went about setting up shop. They pulled wooden frames off the carts and set up tables, where they could spread out their wares. Worm, Cissa and Jojari would be seated behind these tables, and they would handle the customers, since they were the most approachable beasts. This was the 'face' of the operation, the part of trading that passers-by would see. However, both Jojari and Racket had worked out together that there was a lot more profit to be made in 'private' transactions.
Whilst those three were busy running the stalls, Racket and Fiasco would be off attending to the 'special orders' that had been briefly mentioned at the gate. On their last visit to Redwall, they had entered into some negotiations with a few Redwallers to deliver items that were not traditionally found, made or grown in this region. A lot of it came from slave plantations in Sampetra and abroad, which is why Racket and Fiasco had to deliver these orders in secrecy. It was frowned upon by most Redwallers to trade in exotic herbs, spices, sugars, tobaccoes and other plant materials that had been produced by slave labour. But there was a demand for them in Redwall nonetheless, and the vermin were more than happy to sell the goods to woodlanders that wanted something a little sweeter or finer, without asking too many questions about where it had come from.
So, Racket and Fiasco met with beasts in deserted corridors, or empty rooms, or in a secluded part of the orchard, in order to exchange things away from prying eyes. It wasn't just consumable goods either. Dice, cards, and other gambling apparatus was very popular amongst the youngsters, but such activities were looked down upon for encouraging the young Redwallers in risky behaviour. In return, the Redwallers would use their access to all parts of the abbey to 'liberate' the cellar of a few bottles of this and that, and trade them with the vermin. Whilst bottles of October Ale and Strawberry Fizz were downed by the gallon daily at Redwall, these delicacies were almost unheard of in other regions of the world. The price of Redwall-made treats went sky-high the further you walked away from the abbey, so by the time it ended up in the Emperor's cellar on Sampetra, Honest Tom's quiet little bootlegging operation had earned them enough gold to live easy for a month or two.
It was a good job for Racket and Fiasco. Whilst the smaller vermin were good at keeping the woodlanders at ease, there was no need for 'customer service' from these two big beasts. The Redwallers they traded with knew exactly what they were getting into when they agreed to the special orders, so there was no need for ambiguity. If a customer failed to pay up what had been agreed, the beefy fox and musclebound cat were perfectly capable of growling out the same threats they had used back in their more violent pasts. The two of them usually got their payoff in the end, and they got a big kick out of what was almost a game to them, a game of secrecy, intimidation, and outsmarting anybeast who thought they could one-up them.
The final member of the group had quite a different job. Since Sanjay could not trade or make secret deals, he was left only with his talent for music. The blind fox set himself up with his lute in the Great Hall, and let his calloused claws strum harmoniously across the strings. The acoustics were good for him to sing, and a few beasts would put pieces of silver or gold into the floppy-brimmed hat he put on the floor in front of him. Nobeast from the band of merchants worried too much about him; it seemed unlikely that a Redwaller would steal from their friend, especially with so many beasts milling about. They knew it was a possibility though, there were already Redwallers stealing from the cellar to pay them. Besides, Sanjay was not senseless, he could hear if somebeast was close, and would be able to catch any would-be thieves that thought they could cheat a blind fox. His species was not thought of as cunning and wily for no reason, after all.
"Jewellery, finest silks, exotic clothes! Impress your friends, dazzle your rivals!" Cissa called. The rat had taken to this merchant business surprisingly well, since his usual profession was archery. He had a good, carrying voice for getting attention. It was a bit raspy, the result of his habit of smoking like a chimney most of his life, which was one of the factors that had made Racket decide against using him as the face for their operation.
"New in stock, a compendium of the Legends of the North! The true adventures of the great heroes of old, gripping tales of the first explorers across the frozen wastes, chilling horror stories from the shiprecked crew of the Iron Skewer!" Jojari was shouting. His stock was rather eclectic, everything from books to paintings and tapestries, to odd little bits of metal that you put on a teacup to stop it getting your whiskers wet. He could hear Sanjay singing in the hall, and smiled. He hoped his friend wouldn't be too tired to play by the evening. After the feast would be a perfect time to sing something soothing.
Meanwhile, behind the Abbey kitchens, Racket was pulling out a few brown paper packets and giving them to their customer, as Fiasco hurriedly packed the bottles of pilfered October Ale into a box labelled 'Plums'. The duo had gotten a few of the big special orders out of the way now. Fiasco would lazily transport the box back to his cart, hide the bottles in a secret compartment, then go for a stroll. Racket would then get the next special order out of his cart, and hide it in one the many pockets in his long coat. Then, the two heavyset vermin would 'coincidentally' meet up in an agreed upon secluded location to make the next exchange with a Redwaller. Even in an abbey where almost everything was provided, it was in the nature of vermin and woodlander alike to want something more. That wasn't the fault of the two shady dealers; they just knew how to exploit it.
"Let's get at least half o' these done before the feast, Fiasco," Racket muttered as their customer surreptitiously darted off. The fox licked his lips; one of the best things about trading at Redwall was they were allowed to take part in the sumptuous meals that the Redwallers diligently cooked up. Fiasco wrinkled his small black nose. Last time they had been, Fiasco had eaten quite a lot of hotroot soup before realising what it was, and had subsequently embarrassed himself quite a bit. The fox grinned, and roughly patted his feline companion's shoulder. "Aw, don't get yer tail in a twist. This'll be fun, I promise."
"This is NOT going to be fun, I promise."
Carter rolled his eyes and made an exasperated sigh. The otter was a tad shorter than most of his kind but what he lacked in hieght he more than made up with in girth.
He was about five paws tall, laying down, with a bright green guards tunic clinging tightly to his corpulant form.
The hare standing next to him had a more ballenced figure. Under his light brown fur Bill had some muscle to his arms andjust the slightest bulge to his midriff. The hares eyes always seemed to look tired. The product of having a new born dibbun in the family. All five of them.
"What are you complaining about now Bill?" The otter crossed his arms as he replied. The hare pointed towards the carivan of vermin that had practically free riegn in the abbey.
"Tom's traveling circus of thieves and pirates." Again the otter rolled his eyes towards Bill's tone of voice.
"Friend, have you ever considered that you may be speciest?" The otter asked in a very un friendly way. Bill glared murder and death at the otter who didn't flinch in the least. Bill glared murder and death every day of the week. Honestly how the hare found a wife before the otter did will forever remain a mystery.
"I am NOT speciest." Bill declaired flattly. "It's not my fault that every time vermin come into the abbey something goes missing."
"Oh? So all vermin are naturally thieves and liars? What about that fox kit that came in about a month ago. He hasn't given you reason not to trust him, has he?"
"Yet." Bill chuckled, leaning heavily against his spear. "I can't bring myself to trust anyone who calls themseves 'Rascal'."
"And what about Nova?" The hare turned to glare once again at the otter's coy smile. Before he could reply the otter continued. "And what about the rest of the vermin population here? You can't go around seeing theft and corruption everywhere you go simply because there is a vermin standing there."
The hare grinded his teeth together. He secretly lothed the otter sometimes, especially when he knew he was right. Turning abruptly away the hare grumbled, "I have guard duty…" and began to walk away. The storm cloud that followed him was great enough to cover the abbey grounds.
The otter peered at the hare as he walked around the corner out of sight. Standing near the kitchen enterence Carter looked back and forth to make sure no one was watching. With out turning to the window behind him the otter whispered. "S'alright. It's clear.
The window opened wide and red furred paw holding a large burlap sack extended through it. The otter gleefully took the bag before helping the fox through the window, an action that was slowly growing harder and harder with time.
Rascal was in heaven working in the kitchen. All the wonderfull food to make and eat. It was no wonder that he was starting to resemble Carter, both mentally and physically.
The young fox's lanky frame was lost to the test of time and over endulgence on sweets. His plump figure was starting to dissapear under rolls of flesh as well.
He wasn't obese persay, but certainly overweight. His new vest had been able to button just a few days ago. Now it hung open leaving his chest exposed. The fox had to suck in his fat belly to squeeze through the window.
"Did you get the cookies?" The otter said as he oppened the bag.
"Yep. And some muffins, and some pie even." Rascal wagged his tail happily. He was sure the friar and abbey beasts wouldn't mind if a few pastries went missing here or there. He watched as Carter took what he wanted to eat and handed the bag off to the fox.
Wagging his tail happily the plump fox kit began to devour his meal with relish all the while saying, "Try not to stuff yourself before the feast."
The otter smirked, "You could use the same advise you little scamp." He took a bite of a muffin, "You've been eating a bit too well lately yourself." Finishing the muffin the otter licked his chops and dusted off his hands. "I have guard duty.If you somehow manage not to stuff yourself silly this time go put the food over in my quarters. Try not to get into trouble either. I have a job for you to do later on."
With a nod of his head the otter took off down the path way. The fat fox would have asked what the job was but that would mean taking time away from eating his meal.
Femble had her hands full. She had taken the opportunity of Honest Tom
s Travelling Discount Merchants to purchase a whole bunch of new herbs and spices so other beasts could have different flavors. Now she wasnt sure where it would fit. Her herb supply was nearly full… May as well fill it the rest of the way... Her spice supply was half fill... Herbs don`t go in there, only spices... Femble decided to put the remainders into a spare barrel.
As she went to the barrel, she noticed some food gone again.
R Rascal and c Carter Ill b be b bound. Th the t two h have gr grown q quite attached f for th the l last m month. S soon th they w won
t f fit th through th the k kitchen d doorsshe told herself, half amused. Then, to make sure nothing else was stolen, she placed any food in sight, into the unlit oven.
As she made her way out of her beloved kitchen, she saw parts of Honest Tom`s troupe moving around, bargaining, selling and trading. But she noticed some of them doing something whenever they thought nobeast was looking. Femble took one look, bounded with agility up the wall and onto the roof, and slowly made her way to where she knew Bill would be standing.
B Bill...she started.
I th think th the c cart is st stealing October Ale. I only g got a f few g glimpses b but its w what it l looked l like`
The hare tilted his head to the side and ran a paw through his bead fur, pulling his long ears down for a moment. "Really? Ah geeze…." he moaned. "Ok, listen. Leave it to me. I'll look into it."
The hare had quite a lot of other duties going on at the moment but all of that could be pushed to the side in matters of abbey safety. "Thank you for letting me know Femble."
And the hare took off to do just as he said leaving the squirrel behind. Stopping first at the guard shack. There were a trio of beasts here. A pair of mice and an ferret. All guardsmen dressed in green tunics and armed with bludgeons and staff weapons.
All three currently playing a game of cards. Despite their appearence they were hard at work waiting for assignment or taking a break from a patrol around the abbey.
"Oh hey bill." One of the mice, a dark black furred fellow with deep brown eyes. "Hey, is the guard captain in, I need to talk with him..."
"Nope," said the ferret simply as he tossed a card on the table. The mouse continued for him, "Some travelers were robbed last night on their way to the abbey. Happened less than an hour away from the abbey. The captain took some guards with him to check out the area they were robbed in. He should be back sometime tomarrow."
"Blast..." Bill pounded his fist against the door frame of the guard shack. "I have a possible robbery in progress..."
The second mouse, a slender grey furred maiden asked, "Oh? Like the pantry robber?"
"Or like the robber who stole your tooth brush?" Replied the ferret, the dark furred mouse leaned over in his chair to stare upside down at the hare, "Or is this like the time when you accused those traveling circus preformers for trying to drug us at the feast and kidnapp our dibbuns?"
The hare grit his teeth as he listen to them mock about his very reall, very embarressing blunders. You mess up once, he thought, and you never hear about it again.
After being accused of being a speciest the hare really didnt want to deal with more hunor at his expense should this turn out to be nothing at all. "You know what, it's nothing. I'll take care of it." He said, hiding a growl as he took off for the kitchens.
Some days it just didnt pay to get out of bed....
Ooc ok. Im going to try and prolong the investigation into this subplot, dont want to use up all our rp too quickly
Also, is there an actuall player who runs the head guard? If so sorry for spoofing you into action XD
"_Seven nobles of the Northlands,
Rebelled against their wildcat lord,
Their greed tore loyalties apart,
His bloodline was put to the sword.
They had sworn to serve the tyrant,
Who conquered the land for his own,
Sworn to serve the wildcat so cruel,
But their doom already was sown!
They dragged him from his throne in chains,
Judged him guilty of all his crimes,
Broke their oaths and broke his body,
Whipped him with glee a hundred times!
They had sworn to serve the tyrant,
Who conquered the land for his own,
Sworn to serve the wildcat so cruel,
But their doom already was sown!
The fates do not care for mortal lords,
Yet broken oaths stir their furor,
Each traitor's triumph turned tragic,
Each killed by a nameless terror.
They had sworn to serve the tyrant,
Who conquered the land for his own,
Sworn to serve the wildcat so cruel,
But their doom already was sown!
So beware, young conq'ring heroes,
Never turn your back on a friend,
Seven hanging gibbets up North,
Warn of each traitor's messy end!_"
Sanjay finished his song with a flourish across the strings of his lute. A bit of applause, mainly from the crowd of young Redwallers that yearned for adventures of their own. The older beasts of the abbey found the song a little outside their area of interest; living a quiet domestic life full of good food, sunshine and warm fires at night. Tales of fallen kings and fiery warriors just seemed too distant and complicated to worry about. It didn't bother Sanjay though, he was saving all his songs about drinking mead and making merry for the feast. He would need a little help with that one; he had a baritone voice, but the one about mead was best sung in a duet with a tenor. Jojari was his preference, since the weasel had been singing with him for a few seasons. The fox would have liked to convince Fiasco to sing along with him; the range and volume of a feral cat's voice was impressive so long as they weren't tone deaf. However, Fiasco had resisted vehemently any attempts to coax a few notes out of him. Maybe he could sway the feral cat into playing a drum with them instead. Fiasco liked hitting things.
Sanjay hesitated for a moment as he heard a loud yelp from outside the hall. It was a familiar noise, one that signified that somebeast had taken an interest in Cissa's earrings, but had no piercings in their ears with which to wear them. The rat was quite happy to correct this problem for free, with a sewing needle and some alcohol to keep the wound clean. Sanjay suspected Cissa did piercings with no charge simply because he liked making other beasts squirm in pain. Still, he never injured anybeast, and even the most stern Abbey healers had to admit that he was doing no real harm. What some abbey-dwellers thought about their friends getting earrings, Sanjay could not guess. As the afternoon wore on, the blind fox could hear the scurrying of paws and clinking of dinnerware as the tables of the Great Hall were set for a feast. There were all kinds of exquisite scents that wafted into the hall as doors were opened and shut. Sanjay played on, until he heard Jojari's voice.
"Careful Fiasco, mind the other beasts!" The weasel cried. There were murmurings and the shuffling of many small paws, as well as the distinctive heavy thumping of the feral cat's heavy footfalls. Sanjay tried not to laugh at the mental image of Fiasco parting the crowd with Jojari perched on his shoulders. Usually, carrying the crippled weasel was his job, but Fiasco had taken an unexpected liking to Jojari.
When Fiasco had gently set Jojari down on a bench, he came to guide Sanjay to the table. The fox didn't need that much help, he had worked out roughly by the scraping of benches where the furniture was. Setting aside his lute for a moment, he sat beside his weasel friend. He could hear Fiasco slowly, carefully easing himself onto the bench with them, making sure he was seated directly over its legs. The benches had been made for mice after all, and the feral cat's considerably heavier weight tended to make matchwood of them if not treated with care. Fiasco obviously remembered this from the last time he had visited Redwall.
"Oi, hats off inside you uncultured slobs," Cissa said jovially. Sanjay heard Jojari, Racket and Cissa sweep the hats off their heads, and the lumbering footfalls of the heavyset fox and his lithe rat companion.
Racket sat on the other side of Sanjay. He felt the bigger fox's breath on his whiskers and scented his pungent odor as Racket leaned close to whisper in his ear. "We've got most orders done. How'd you get on with yer songs?"
Sanjay showed him the gold in the bottom of his upturned floppy hat. Racket whistled appreciatively, and made to put his paw in the hat, his claws brushing the metallic pieces inside and making them clink together. He got a sharp smack across his knuckles for his trouble; The blind fox was just as wily to the tricks of the other. Grumbling something about trust and seasons spent working together, Racket's attention was soon diverted by the food. Sanjay could hear platters being set on the tables, and his nose twitched as all the unfamiliar yet mouthwatering scents filled his nostrils up close. It reminded him of his childhood in the North, where he had lived as the son of a spymaster in a wildcat lord's castle. They had feasts up there too, until Sanjay had been forced to flee, blinded by his former lord.
Jojari apparently had noticed that Sanjay was brooding over something, because the weasel gave him a pat on the shoulder. "Here, I'll get some food on your plate. You wouldn't want to miss out on this!"
((OOC: Trying to write from Sanjay's perspective in this one, so mostly focusing on other senses than sight. Nobody plays any other guards as far as I know. Now's the time to introduce that subplot you mentioned, coolcoyote. ))
The hare grumbled mostly to himself as he walked away from the guard shack. "Bleedin useless lot. Why do I have to do all the work…"
Bill walked with purpose towards the Great Hall. The first step would be to investigate the kitchens, to see if anything really was missing. Along the way the hare spotted Carter coming up the steps of the abbey. It was quite easy to spot the otter when he was three tails tall...laying down.
The otter cringed at the mention of his name. Usually when Bill came looking for him it was to scold him or give him more work. He turned on his paws with a smile anyway. "Howdey Bill. Wussup?"
"Come on Carter. We have a job to do." The hare said, stepping past the otter as he whined, "aw man....I have ten minutes left on my shift Bill. And the feast is about to begin!"
"Too bad." The hare replied simply, "The friar says that she saw beasts stealling from the cellar."
The otter straitened out. "What kind of beasts?"
"The vermin kind. Now come on let's go...."
"Bill..." Carter sighed, "Come on man. You are not going to go harass some poor beast before you have anything to prove they actually did it, are you?"
Bill rolled his eyes and said in a mocking tone, "Oh you are just worried you are going to have to actually get off your fat and lazy tail and do something for a change. Don't worry you will be back in time to stuff yourself with pie again."
The hare reached for the door then paused when he realized the otter wasn't coming with him. He turned around to find the otter staring at him angerly with his arms crossed.
"Oh come on Carter, you'r a few pies to late to be offended when people mention your weight by now." The words just came out and Bill imidietly regretted them. "I uh...ment that as a joke..."
"You have a poor sense of humor you..." the otter held his tounge as a mouse maiden carrying a dibbun walked around them.
"You 'what'?" The hare said, crossing his own arms and staring defiently at the otter...
Rascal was already well inside the Great Hall when Bill came in. The hare marched passed him with a glare angry enough to scare the life out of the fattened fox thief. Rascal decided it best to leave Bill alone and watched him leave into the kitchens.
Carter did not come inside.
The fox scratched at an ear and said aloud, "What was that all about." Finally he shrugged. Bill always looked angry.
The fox had come to find Femble but had become distracted by all the vermin about. Vermin! Actual vermin! He had been listening to the blind singer and even applauded him with a clap when his story was done.
Keeping an eye out for his friar friend Rascal decided to talk with Racket first. The fox waved as he sat down across from the other fox. "Well hi! Nice to see another fox in the abbey. You would be surprised how few we get here!" He said, interupting any conversation they were having.
(Ooc thanks the sub plot i had in mind would be best introduced later, prehaps near the end of the feast or in the middle as it has a chance of totally hijacking the current plot. So a few more rounds and that will help ^^)
(OOC: What was this plot?)
Femble dared not go and watch, lest she was caught as the tell tale. Instead she weaved through crowds of Redwallers back to her kitchen. She tossed a candied chestnut to an obedient dibbun who was carrying a large pudding to the table. He caught it and sucked on it joyfully as he passed.
Yellow eyes watched intently as a hare stormed through the cavernous room. Fiasco rarely liked meeting new beasts, but that creature he kept a closer eye on than most. The feral cat could tell when somebeast harboured him ill will; perhaps it was the subtle prickling of fur, or the narrowed eyes, or just that slight drifting of a beast's paw towards a blade. Fiasco might not have been a scholarly beast, but he was naturally adept at reading the beasts around him. He nudged Racket's elbow once the hare had left the room. The burly fox had been steadily eating his way through everything in paw's reach, and gulping down flagon after flagon of ale. Racket was not the sort of beast that would let such a golden opportunity pass him by, and the fox was far from finished, even as his overfilled belly bulged and gurgled. Fiasco growled and shoved the fox's elbow again, making Racket looked up from his meal in irritation.
"Wot?" Racket snapped. Soup dripped from his muzzle, which made him look a bit comical.
"Better to leave sooner than later, Racket," Fiasco said in a low voice. "Not everybeast is glad to see us. I can smell a fight coming."
Racket gave a loud sigh, followed by a deep belch. He patted his swollen stomach and leaned over to speak softly back. "Even if some folks are lookin' fer trouble, it'd be suspicious if we left the same night we came. We've gotta stay a full day at least, or they'll think we're up to summat."
Fiasco nodded slowly, though he wasn't sure he understood. Some of the woodlanders probably thought they were up to 'summat' already, and they were quite right. Surely it was better to go whilst most beasts were friendly towards them, rather than wait a day or two and risk wearing out their welcome? The feral cat shrugged; being diplomatic and subtle was not his strength. He was more interested in making plans for when things did go wrong, and the only solution was to break things. Fiasco was the expert when it came to that. He poured himself some soup, and started licking at his bowl.
"Pst. Fiasco. Fiasco!" Jojari hissed from the other side of Racket, who by now was gorging himself on pie. Fiasco looked up, bewildered at the weasel, who pointed at the spoon that lay besides his bowl. "Use that. You've got to follow etiquette, or they'll get upset."
"Fine. Follow Etty-kett," Fiasco repeated with a scowl, grabbing the spoon. He filled the spoon with soup, held it up to his muzzle, and started lapping the hot liquid from the spoon with his tongue, causing drips to run off the spoon back into the bowl. Jojari groaned, and gave up trying to teach the feral cat how to behave at dinner. Between Racket's elbows on the table, Fiasco's soup licking and Cissa lighting his pipe from one of the candelabras, the bunch of vermin were not exactly making themselves look good. Jojari couldn't blame them that much though; they had not been raised to do anything other than be themselves.
Racket was having the time of his life; he loved the Redwall feast and indulged in it fully whenever he visited. He had to try everything, sweet or savoury, he didn't care. He had learned to survive in the forest, so having food actually given to him in piles on a table drove his sense wild. He intended to eat until he couldn't even get up from the table, and then have some more dessert. The heavy fox could already feel a slight tickling sensation as the fur on his gut brushed up against the edge of the table. He sloshed another round of October Ale into his flagon from the pewter pitcher on the table, and grinned at Fiasco.
"Ye need to drink more, Fiasco," he said, raising the foaming flagon to his lips. "It'll make yer fur grow thicker."
"It'll make you grow thicker, "Fiasco muttered back under his breath, but Racket didn't hear him. The large fox's attention had been diverted by a stranger, another fox in fact.
"Well hi! Nice to see another fox in the abbey. You would be surprised how few we get here!" The stranger said. The unfamiliar fox startlingly reminded Racket of himself when he was a lot younger, albeit a lot cleaner and far more friendly. Racket didn't reply immediately. Instead, he leaned his head back and too a long draught from his flagon. Some foam clung to his whiskers as he lowered the flagon, he licked it off with his tongue, all the while staring at the other fox. Finally, he replied with a slight smile playing about his features.
"Aye, few'n'far between we foxes are. I like it that way though, three's a crowd, y'know? Our foxy bard's called Sanjay, an' I'm Racket. What do they call ye, an' what business 'ave you with the Redwallers?"
Racket was not expecting an honest answer to either of his questions. They were more to see just how good of a liar the other fox was. Racket knew his own kind were a wily bunch, so it was best to scout out the competition and see just what this fox was up to. From the look of him, Racket could guess that he had been in Redwall for a while now. The place had quite a softening effect on visitors over time, Racket had noticed. Fiasco meanwhile was ignoring the conversation and stabbing pasties onto the end of his knife as if he was spearing fish. The feral cat was just as hungry as his fox companion, but he also didn't want to disappoint Jojari. He ate the pasties off his knife, and grinned at the little weasel.
"See. Etty-kett," Fiasco said proudly. Jojari's whiskers twitched as he tried his best not to laugh at the feral cat's antics.
This fox was certainly a beast after Rascal's own heart to say the least. "We fox's are far and few between indeed, especially those who can put a hare's gluttony to shame." Rascal said as he ate.
As he young thief gorged himself to the point he was noticably swollen as well he conversed with his fellow vermin. It was pleasent to meet not only a member of his same species but also a vermin at heart as well.
"You can call me Rascal for much the same reason you call yourself Racket." The young vulpine said after he swollowed a pastry. "I'm guess like me you needed to come up with a witty cover name on the fly and it just sort of stuck…or your parrents have one seriously flawed sense of humor." Another pastry dissapeared down his gullet. "I guess you could say I work in the kitchens. I help out with cooking."
As the fox spoke a third hefty glutton came by. The very obese Carter sat down on the bench next to Rascal. It creaked ominously under his weight. The otter leaned forward and crossed his arms on the table, resting his chin on his arms and staring off into space while his foot paw tapped on the floor.
"Well...don't you look sour." Rascal chuckled sliding a plate towards the burly otter. "No thanks. I lost my appitite."
The fox raised an eyebrow, "You? Lose your appitite? Must have been something bad then." The otter turned suddenly and gave Rascal a heated glare. One terrifying enough to the canid that it made him shrink back against the hare behind him. "Um...sorry, forget I said anything."
The otter sighed heavily, his gaze softening. "Sorry...just had a fight with Bill a few hours ago. That hare get's on my nerves sometimes..."
"Don't sweat it. It's just bill. He tends to take life too seriously." Rascal gave his friend a pat on the shoulder. "I'm sure he is writing people up for jay walking across the abbey grounds right as we speak."
Deep in the kitchens the beasts worked hard to prepair the meals that would fill the bellies of the beasts in the great hall. The door from the kitchen to the orchard opened slowly. A brown furred hare pushed it open with great difficulty before stepping into the kitchens. Bill slumped forward into the far table, making the pots and pans rattle. A mouse cook turned and gasped at the sight.
Bill tried to pick himself up from the table but instead only managed to slump against the floor. He was bleeding profusely from a grievous head wound between both ears. "Help...." he said in a pittiful voice.
Ooc ok, so i have the attacker planned out. Feel free to accuse others of it though. Also there was more to this post but i broke it into two since it requires w reaction first from the players. Gerns alts are not in the kitchens so feel free to use this as a chance for chsracter development or find a way to find out about bill who is still conceous….awake. you are both creative so im sure you both can find ways to interact with bill if you so desire ^^
"Ye help out with cookin'? Looks more like you help yerself to the cookin', eh mate?" Racket chuckled. "Swell to meetcha, Rascal. If'n ye find yerself wantin' fer anything Redwall don't provide, jes' catch up with me or Fiasco someplace quiet an' put in an order. Ye'd be surprised wot we can lay our paws on, isn't that right, Fiasco?"
Racket winked, and turned to look at Fiasco, who had buried his muzzle into an entire pudding. Empty plates licked clean of their contents were starting to pile beside the feral cat as he began to enjoy all the sweet desserts. Fiasco was purring very quietly to himself as he ate. Racket tutted and shook his head, turning to glare at Jojari.
"I thought you was teachin' 'im how to behave civil-like."
Jojari nearly choked on his mouthful of cake, and spluttered angrily. "I have been! Where d'you s'pose he's getting all those bad habits, sitting next to a walking feedbag like you?"
Racket sniffed haughtily, and didn't bother replying. Honestly, how could Jojari think that his eating habits might be rubbing off on Fiasco? It was absurd, the fox thought, as he loaded up his plate with a few slices of cake, some tarts, a nice helping of pudding, some strawberries and meadowcream, a few slices of nutbread and a large glob of the wobbly thing that Racket had never quite gotten the name of. Racket was determined not to be out-eaten by the young upstart feral cat, and so barely waited to savour one mouthful before cramming in the next.
"I think I'm gonna be sick," Worm whined, dropping his fork. The little weasel had barely touched the feast, and it was typical of him to be the first to complain of a queasy stomach.
"Not 'ere yore not. Go outside," Cissa warned, recoiling away from the supposed 'leader' of the traveling merchants. Now that they were inside though, there was barely any pretense amongst the group that 'Honest Tom' had any kind of authority.
"Don't ye dare," Racket growled, in a voice that seemed to freeze Worm to his seat. "Good 'ardworkin' beasts like young Rascal 'ere 'ave been toilin' all day to put food on yer plate. Do not spit it back up in their faces."
Worm muttered a quiet little apology and sat very still, massaging his upset stomach with both paws. Sanjay, however, sat bolt upright in his seat, his ears twitching.
"Did you hear that?" Sanjay asked. Racket was too busy eating to take much notice of him. Jojari noticed his friend's distress though. He touched Sanjay's arm to let him know he was listening. Sanjay turned to face the weasel, his sightless eyes staring open wide. "It sounded like a-…"
There was a scream from the kitchens, and this time everybeast in the hall heard it. Conversation died down instantly, and a few woodlanders were already on their footpaws. Fiasco hissed, his fur bristling, Worm whimpered and lowered himself in his chair, trying to look as small as possible. Even Racket paused for a moment, his eyes narrowing. He could already see a few of the Redwall guards casting a few glances in the direction of the vermin, as if making sure that they were all there in plain view.
"I owe ye this much, Fiasco," Racket said after a moment or two. "I reckon ye were right. There's trouble brewin', an' no mistake."
"W-What do we do? Racket?" Worm asked, his eyes darting to the doors out of the hall. The fox shook his head, and leaned across to speak to his companions in a low voice.
"We can't leave now. Dunno wot's 'appened, but you can bet we'll cop some trouble fer it. Just sit tight, an' don't do nothin' suspicious. Any o' ye been interrogated before?" Racket looked about the hall, making sure nobeast was listening in on them. The guards were putting paws on their weapons, and a few woodlanders were going to investigate the kitchens.
"Yes, you interrogated me when we first met," Jojari reminded Racket.
The heavy fox snorted. "That was a job interview!"
"I 'ave been," Cissa interrupted darkly. "Went through another horde's territory while trackin' somebeast."
"Right, well you know wot to do then, keep yer mouths shut, all o' ye. If there's any talkin' to be done, let me 'andle it." Racket said. With that the five vermin fell quiet, and stayed where they were.
s scream could be heard from all around the Abbey, as could her sobs as she knelt next to Bill, pulling him into a more comfortable position.B Bill, p please s say y you
re alright. H who d did th this? H who c could d d do th this t to y you?she wept as she dabbed blood away with the rim of her apron.
S someone g get b Bard, q quick, c Carter t t tooshe was nearly hysterical, thinking it was all her fault for sending Bill off to investigate something that probably didn`t even matter.
The hare seemed to drift in and out of conciousness, rolling his head this way and that . Something how ever made Bill snap to attention. His ears shot strait up and the vile look of hatred that crossed his face was teuely horrendous. "Who did this to me? WHO did this to ME?"
With a snarl more closely associated with some ferral wolf the hare leaped to his feet. He staggered past Femble, stumbling into and off of various tables and counters on his way to the door.
"Bill! Wait you need to-" began a young mouse novice. Bill pushed him rouhhly away into the far counter. His paw then reached for his sword and drew it. The sound was akin to a sythe being sharpened.
He threw open the kitchen door. The already worried crowd all turned their heads to Bill as he let out an angry shout. "You!"
Sword drawn he began to stagger slowly towards the table. Rascal and Carter both turned towards the wounded hare, "Bill!" They both chorused together at the sight.
Before they could get up to help their friend Bill pointed his sword at the table. It wavered between both plump fox's due to the shakyness of his paw, pointing in the general direction to both Racket and Rascal.
"You…you fat bellied...ingratefull...decitefull...VERMIN!" Bill spat. Rascal gasped as Bill raised his sword high over his head.
"Bill wait!" The fox shouted, throwing his arms up to protect himself. The hare took a step forward then collapsed, falling flat onto his chest.
Silence came over the abbey as all eyes turned to the fox's seated at the table. Carter had a look of shock that quickly turned to heated anger. The pudgy rascal of a fox whimpered under the sight. He had never seen his friend so angry.
"Shut it." The otter said. As the next highest ranking guard in the abbey he commanded, "Guards, lock the gates. No one get's in our out with out my say so. Then sieze this...this fox."
As he spoke a pair of beasts, healers off duty, were already tending to the wounded hare, picking him up and carrying him off to the stairs.
"Um...which fox to we capture?" A small black and white furred mouse guard asked nervously.
"Both of them!" The otter screamed at the top of his lungs. Even the other guards were frightened of this uncharacteristic bout of anger from the normally joyfull otter. "I don't bleedin care! Just take them both to the guard shack. I'll deal with them later." He stated flatly as he stalked into the kitchens.
As he did several redwall guards came to the fox's and surrounded them. Most were off duty and unarmed, a few carried bludgeons. "Sir's. If you would come with us." Asked the mouse in a way that suggested it was not a request...
Ooc lol! Plot hijacking twist! Woo! Since bard inst oocly here we will have to make due with a generic healer ^^ i would rather not force him into a plot he has not joined yet :3
(OOC: True, true. I was going to PM him, but forgot about it)
IC: Femble stumbled to follow the enraged hare as he staggered into the Great Hall. She watched, tears falling silently down her face as Bill drew his sword. Femble dodged between the crowd and gasped as the hare pointed his sword at the pair of foxes. What was he doing? Femble pushed closer, and watched the astonished faces of the crowd, the foxes and Carter as Bill wobbled in for the kill. Femble could watch no longer and darted in behind Bill, trying to hold him back. But since she was too small, she instead bulled into him from behind, causing his unsteady frame to slam to the ground. She gasped as a couple of mice carried Bill away, and more surrounded the foxes. She couldn
t believe it. It couldnt have been Rascal, he was a good, obedient friend. She plonked onto a nearby chair and held her head in her hands as she wept the tears out.
The vermin watched in horror as Bill's dramatic entry unfolded. The hare had been wounded, and he was brandishing a sword from one large fox to the other. Racket felt that sinking feeling as he realised there was definitely no wriggling out of this in a hurry. He had been in trouble with various hordes and groups of woodlanders before, so it was no surprise to find himself surrounded by stern faces who wanted a word. The burly fox had to give them credit though; this was the politest arrest he'd ever had. Most beasts tended to go straight to belting him over the head with a stick until he was unconscious.
Fiasco was standing before Racket was. His tailed flicked angrily, he growled at the guards and his yellow eyes glared at them furiously. It took Racket a couple of tries to heave his bulk off the bench. Slowly but surely the fat-bellied fox staggered onto his footpaws. Well, even if he was headed for the chopping block, at least he was taking most of the feast with him, he thought. Racket grabbed Fiasco by the shoulders and turned him till they were face to face. Fiasco jerked in surprise, but didn't raise a claw against his companion. Anger turned to confusion as the feral cat saw that Racket did not mean to fight them.
"Easy, Fiasco, easy. Keep the others safe. If'n I don't make it…" Racket leaned forward and whispered his instruction in Fiasco's ear. The feral cat nodded somberly, and watched as Racket turned to face the guards, and put his paws behind his head.
"J-Just a moment!" Worm's voice squeaked as the weasel stood. All eyes went to the diminutive vermin in his gaudy jacket. Racket groaned. He had a feeling the alcohol had given Worm a bit of liquid courage. Unfortunately, when the weasel tried to be brave, he also ended up doing things that were incredibly stupid. Worm snatched his felt cap from the table and crammed it on his head, and scurried forward to stand beside Racket. "R-Racket here is under the employ of H-Honest Tom's Travelling Discount Merchants! As the leader, I-I insist on accompanying him to ensure his safety."
"Your, uh... employee will not be harmed if he co-operates, Mister Tom," one of the guards explained.
"I-I'm afraid that's not good enough! I've only got your word you won't hurt him behind closed doors," Worm puffed out his chest and tapped his cane on the floor. "Besides, how do I know you won't make up l-lies about him, if nobeast else is a witness? You could just stick a knife in his ribs and say it was self-defence!"
The group of guards seemed a little stunned by the normally timid weasel's burst of assertiveness. Even Racket looked impressed. One of them stepped forward and peered at him curiously. "Hey, are you some kinda solicitor?"
"No, but Jojari's read me lots of detective stories!" Worm said brightly. There were murmurs amongst the crowd of Redwallers that were listening in. Racket lowered one of his paws to pat Worm on the shoulder.
"Thanks, Tom," the fox said grudgingly.
The black furred mouse with a white furred chest rolled his eyes. "This fox works for you? Fine. But just know here we hold leaders accountable for the actions of those under them."
With a nod of his head redwaller gestured for the fox's to follow. As they were led away from the great hall a hare at the end of the table rose his paws high into the air. "Please! My fellow redwallers. Let us not let this horrible event mar our feast more than it has too. After all, this is an event to lift our spirits. Come! Let us eat and drink and let the halls resound with laughter once more…."
The feast begrudgingly continued. Slowly at first but then the music started again and chatter filled the hall, even if it was of Bill's collapse. Whispers spread quickly. "Do you think Rascal really could have done that?"
"Nah, he was pointing at the other fox, not him."
"I say they BOTH did it...."
And so on and so forth. Carter looked none too pleased at these events. He came storming out of the kitchen. Catching sight of Femble there crying the otter paused. Comforting others was NOT his strong suit.
Shyly rubbing the back of his own neck before laying a paw on her shoulder he said. "Don't worry Femble...I'm going to question everyone Bill came into contact with since I saw him last. Now you dry your tears, Bill will be alright...I just know it."
Meanwhile the fox, the other fox, and the weasel were receiving a much less comforting situation.
The abbey was never built to house prisoners. The product of a pacifist life style even though the abbey has encountered many scoundrals over the years.
So the 'suspects' and their weasely companion were left to be guarded by three guards in the guard shack. The shack it's self was a drab building made of wood and stone with a large table and two chairs in the center. There was a room with a locked door where the weapons were held...the few that redwall allowed.
The beasts were watched closely by three guards. One black and white furred mouse. A firy red squirel maiden, and a brown furred stoat. Redwall was an equal oppertunity employer after all...even if the vermin in the ranks of the guard were rare.
Rascal simply paced back and forth, tail dragging behind him. "I knew this would happen, I knew this would happen!" The fox shouted. "This place is too good to be true! I knew something bad would happen. I should have just stolen the food and left when I had the chance." The fox paused, remembering the company he was in. "Er...I mean when I first got here...back when I was a thief...which I'm not now...well...you get the idea!"
The mouse sighed in a way that suggested he did get the idea...just not the one the fox wanted him too.
Femble dabbed away her tears and smiled weakly at Carter, sniffing loudly.
Oh, its j j just, I s s sent b b Bill off t to ch check th the c c cellars. I th think th the t tr trouble m might c c come f fr from th there, and I, I s s sent h him s st straight in`
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((OOC: Here is the sheets for Thoggit and Nex))
Ever since the vermin traders had arrived at the abbey Thoggit had been in his element. There where really, truly, living, breathing, smelly vermin in the abbey and he wanted more than anything to be part of the action when trouble arose. And he was more than certain it would, though this was not based on much fact other than his ever bounding and often wrong intuition. He spent most of that day conspicuously spying on them and loitering around the tables of goods, piled high with exotic things many of which would be perfect for his games of make believe, Thoggit had even tried to convince his best friend Nex to get an earring but the smaller squirrel had positively refused.
Thoggit was a good nurtured creative ambitious young mouse who yearned for adventure and excitement. The mouse had a pare of strong mischievous blue eyes and his fur was a pale brown blond, it did what it willed no matter what Thoggit (Or anyone else for that matter) did to keep it in cheek. He wore an abbey green tunic over top of which was a brown bark vest and belt along with a pare of dark brown boots which where one size to big.
Now he sat in the dining hall over his large piece of strawberry tart topped high with meadow cream, elbows forgetfully placed on the table, all thoughts of eating forgotten. He nudged his best friend Nex in the chest, who was still trying to finish a slice of apple pie and blueberry muffin both liberally spread with meadow cream. No matter how much the scrawny stunted squirrel ate he never got any bigger. Most every one marveled at where he put it. Though Thoggit said he used it to store all his book learning. When Nex didn't answer Thoggit jabbed him again this time harder.
"Mumph! Hey! Quit it," Nex squeaked threw a mouth full of pie, cream clinging to his whiskers making him look rather comical.
"Quit stuffing your face and listen!" Thoggit said. He was more excited then usual and his tone had a hint of secrecy and plotting which made Nex stop mid chew and look up. He then sniffed and wiped a paw under his nose removing the cream from its place on his face. "Don't you see what this means?" Thoggit said referring to the arrest of the two Foxes. Nex began to chew thoughtfully and then swallowed. Thoggit however did not wait for him to reply "We've got ourselves a really living truly murder attempt on our hands!" He said a little to excited about the whole thing. Nex Brightened up realizing just what Thoggit was getting at. He put down his fork and jumped up but ended up tripping over the bench and landing in a heap on the floor. "Not so fast," Thoggit said chuckling and reaching down a helping paw to his friend before jumping up himself.
"I'll remember that," Nex said getting up. Thoggit then began to drag the smaller squirrel out of the great hall but not before Nex had grabbed his muffin. No way was he going to let that go to waist.
"I'm not just sitting here doing nothing," Jojari said, folding his arms. "Sanjay, I think we should investigate."
"Oi," Cissa warned, putting his paw on the young weasel's shoulder. "Racket wouldn't want us gettin' in any more trouble."
Jojari gave him a wry grin back. "I've been in trouble before. I'm not as fragile as I look."
"I can't stomach any more of this feast anyway," Sanjay growled. "That little incident put me right off."
The blind fox got to his footpaws, and picked up Jojari. The little weasel could ride on the strong fox's back with his useless legs dangling over Sanjay's shoulders. A few beasts glanced in their direction, but Jojari didn't care. Racket was in trouble, and from the sound of things, they weren't going to treat Tom any better, even though he hadn't been accused at all. Jojari supposed they were lucky that the Redwallers were as slow and cautious as they were about the whole thing. Sanjay had told him some nightmarish stories about the strict, harsh justice dealt by wildcat lords in the Northlands.
"Let's have a look in the kitchens, Sanjay. Maybe somebeast can tell us if they saw anything," Jojari suggested. Sanjay picked up a few of their dirty plates, reasoning they could excuse themselves into the kitchens by pretending to help clean up. The weasel guided the blind fox to the door, though Sanjay had a pretty good idea of where it was just by the sound of its hinges as beasts went in and out, carrying in plates and bowls to be washed. It was only then Jojari realised the heavyset otter that had arrested Racket was near the kitchen door. He tried to avoid eye-contact, and wondered if the otter would try and stop them leaving the hall. Surely they weren't under arrest too?
"I want to go help," Fiasco said petulantly. "Might be a trail to sniff out." Cissa groaned. All his mates seemed to be disappearing now, and he still wanted to stuff himself with the feast. "Fine. Off you go, you oversized kitten. I guess I'm the only one that'll listen to Racket's advice." The rat puffed on his pipe defiantly, before returning to gulping down more desserts. Fiasco regarded him for a moment, then decided perhaps it was better that he go hunting for clues alone. The feral cat would do better just relying on his keen senses, than the chatterings and musings of the more talkative members of the group. Fiasco could see in the dark, and scent tracks very well. He got up from his seat, and stretched, massaging his swollen stomach. He had enjoyed all the food, but with the arrest of Racket, none of it seemed so appealing anymore. Fiasco's tail swished anxiously as he lumbered heavily down the hall towards the doors. Fiasco reached the doors around the same time as a couple of small kits. Well, every woodlander was 'small' in Fiasco's opinion, but their young were even tinier. Fiasco stared at them with yellow eyes, amused by their comical appearance. The mouse's boots were too big for him, and the squirrel had cream on his face. He wondered if anybeast was supposed to be watching where the kits went, but then again, this was Redwall. Fiasco had noticed they never seemed to keep too close an eye on their young. Fiasco stepped out of the great hall, onto the abbey steps. The evening air was cool, the noises of plates and gossip inside seemed to fade away. The feral cat's eyes seemed to glow in the dim twilight. He took a few breaths of fresh air, trying to clear his head of all the drink and rich scents of food. There was hunting to be done. Whilst Jojari and Sanjay were asking around the kitchens, Fiasco would be prowling around the abbey grounds, trying to scent out anything unusual, like blood. Unfortunately the grounds had traces of scents everywhere, since everybeast in the abbey liked to wander around outside. It would take some skill for the young cat to find any clues.
Racket had decided to use both chairs to support his weight, since Rascal insisted on waddling about in circles. Woodlander furniture might as well be decorative matchwood, the fox thought to himself. He sat across both small rickety chairs, which groaned and squeaked every time he shifted. Now the initial shock had passed, Racket was getting a bit bored. He listened with mild interest to Rascal's complaining. Of course the youngster was a thief, and that was fine by Racket. The larger fox had never liked anybeast that hadn't the common sense to swipe something at least once. And he did like Rascal, the young fox seemed to know exactly how to use his wiles to get what he wanted from the Redwallers. Racket toyed with the idea of hiring Rascal as a kind of freelance thief. It might be handy to have an ally working on the inside, in case they ever needed to lift some stuff from Redwall.
Worm, meanwhile, was fidgeting. Not wanting to stand, and with Racket taking both chairs, the weasel had resorted to sitting cross-legged on the floor. He alternated between brushing imagined dust off his jacket, pulling at the frayed bits of his epaulettes, and twirling his cane in his paws. Racket could tell the weasel was nervous. He'd have to say something to calm Worm down, before he did or said anything stupid again. Racket cleared his throat, and tried to make conversation.
"Good feast, innit?"
Worm shrugged and grunted, and the guards remained silent. Racket scratched the back of his head. The stoat was staring at him particularly hard, the fox noticed. Racket wondered how the stoat had gotten that job. Maybe he had the same idea as Rascal? Or maybe he was one of those dreary creatures that wanted to prove how 'good' they really were despite appearances. Racket hated that sort of beast. His idea of 'good' was looking after himself and his own. The fox picked at his teeth, and smirked at the stoat. He wanted to provoke some reaction out of the mustelid.
"Ye like looking at me, lad?" Racket asked mischievously. "I don't blame ye. There's a lot o' me to look at."
The fox leaned back in his chairs and stretched his back, swishing his tail from side to side. His eyes stared into the stoat's. "Oh, I'm sure yer boss treats ye with such respect, stoat. Never calls ye vermin to yer face. But it don't matter 'ow much you dress like 'em, or talk pretty like 'em, does it? You're still vermin to them. Just like me. Only, I'm bigger."
Racket chuckled menacingly, and watched the guard try not to react. The fox could tell he was making the stoat feel uncomfortable. He could almost scent the mustelid's nervousness. Worm had stopped fidgeting, and was watching the stoat too. Racket wasn't trying to convince the stoat to turn on the woodlanders, or any such nonsense like that. The fox was just trying to torment the vermin guard for his own amusement, whilst they waited for that enormously fat otter to bother turning up. Maybe he's gotten too bloated to come check up on us, Racket thought with a spiteful grin.
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Thoggit and Nex hurried past the dinners the two pairs of small feet padding along the red stone floor unnoticed till they got to the door where they were met by a large silent cat. Thoggit stopped and starred for a moment, Looking him up and down (More up than down) before hurrying threw the door and down the steps into the grounds dragging Nex behind him. Nex was to busy trying to finish his muffin to notice the cat or anything else. The sun was seating in the abbey grounds and the shadows where long. The two made there way across the grounds and into the orchard continuously looking back to see where the cat was. He came to the wall and the two sat down between two trees. Nex who was licking meaddowcream and crumbs from his paw looked up and said "So whats the plan?"
"First we need to know our suspects!" Thoggit said. Nex put on a very thoughtful face.
"Well there where them two Foxes Bill was pointing at," He said is paw licking slowing to a thoughtful crawl.
"I don't think it's either of 'em," Thoggit said a matter of factually.
"What-" Nex began to say but Thoggit cut him off.
"Bill was in a bad shape by that point he could have been mistaken. Plus both foxes where at the feast for a good bit before Bill came in like he did," Nex'es eyes lit up with understanding and then an idea of his own hit him.
"It depends on when it happened. May haps the infirmary sister can tell us round when it happened based on how bad the wound was and how long it would take for the hare to pass out!"
"You are brilliant!" Thoggit said praising his friend and jumping to his feet "Come on we've got a mystery to solve," he said and ran off. Nex got up slowly and then started after him at a lope still quite full from the feast and not wanting to spoil it.