Soggy strangers, and soup of course (RP)
There is a road leaving Redwall that bends precisely west, and peters out after about a day into the vast woodlands of Mossflower. From there, you can keep traveling west to the ocean, to Salamandastron, the great mountain with a forge that is seldom quiet, where the badger lords rule. If you travel south, you find Castle Floriet. To the East lies the forboding woods. Those who return from travels there say it is barren and abandoned, but many don't return.
The road to Redwall lies a hundred directions. Some come from famine or war, some bringing it. Some roads, curiously enough, that lead out from Redwall, curve and curve until they find themselves without intention back at the large abbey gates. This was the road occupied tonight.
Wiggling the kinks out of his tail, the larger otter winked at his companion. Rain poured down in torrents, making rivlets down his face.
"You know, I love te' travel Love, and I prefer to travel swimming, but I prefer the kind of swimming where I don't have to walk too!"
Lily laughed. A gust of autumn wind cut through her scanty cloak and her teeth chattered as she retorted,
"You great bunk, we'll be there soon."
Thad peeled his own sopping cloak and wrapped it around her shoulders. He hunched over against the pelts of liquid ice, paws tucked under his arms, without slowing down. Lily didn't say anything, knowing her stubborn friend would resist if she did.
"Tell me more about Redwall," Thad asked finally.
"You could walk it with your eyes closed."
"Oh, I know, but I meant about it. Like, why is it there? Who built it?"
The question caught Lily off guard. She racked her memories for the answer.
"I dunno exactly. It's just kind of… always been there, I guess. In the hallway right before the Great Hall, there is a tapestry with a warrior on it named Martin. He's fierce but peaceful, and yet sad."
Thad raised an eyebrow at her. Lily threw up her paws and laughed again.
"Oh, I don't know how to describe him. He's just Martin. Anyways, he is like the guardian of Redwall, but I'm not really sure why. Maybe he was the one who built it. You'll have to ask the Abbot... or Abbotess. But basically, Redwall is there as a refuge. Many beasts, when they get old, like to live there because it's peaceful and they don't have to keep up with very much, which is probably why so often more than half of the beasts living at Rewall are elderly. A few people live there their whole lives, but most people come and go, staying only a few seasons at a time. It's so peaceful and steady that it is easy to get itchy for adventure. When I was there, there was a hedgehog family that used to only stay during the winter, and at the first signs of green, they kissed everyone farewell and went back to their home in the forest. And lots of weary travelers stay there on their way somewhere else."
Thad grinned. "Well that describes us pretty jolly well."
Lily bopped him on the head. "You're starting to sound like your hare friends again."
It had been raining steadily for a few hours, and was almost entirely dark outside when there was a loud pummeling at the gates.
"I say, you're bally cruel beasts to leave us to go soggy in the freezing cold rain, doncha know? Will you let us blinkin in if we promise not to eat too much scoff and hog the fire?"
As the unmistakable accent of hare range through the air, Ensis O'Wildlough jumped in his seat. He had been enjoying a cup of tea and the company of a good book and had not expected this intrusion, though he did not regret it.
Before the guest could utter another word, Ensis was out of the gate house and undoing the great gates locks and bars. "Calm yourself friend. It'll only take a moment."Ensis called in a tone that hinted on laughter.
"There!" he sighed as he lifted off the immense bar that made up the main defense for the gate.
"FINALLY," bellowed Thad as he tripped through the half-open gate and landed in the mud. Lily, giggling, skipped over him and twirled a curtsy to Ensis. Looking entirely comfortable sprawled in the muck, Thad grinned up at their benefactor.
"Top notch, wot! We've been knocking polite-like on the blinkin door for over an hour! You've saved our bally lives from inconvenient annihilation due to over-inhalation of rain."
"Ooh, Thad, you're a mess…"
The male otter stood up , looked down at his fur and chuckled. He swept Lily off her feet and spun her around, kicking up the puddles on the lawn. She squealed, laughing. He set her back down gently and sighed with great relief.
"We made it."
Ensis was shocked. He had always thought himself hard to fool but this otter had done it on a whim, but it only to a moment to recover from the blow to his pride.
"Welcome to Redwall." He said as he turned back towards the gate. "Sorry about the wait…just let me finish with this gate...There. Follow me and I'll show you to the Abbot."
[Edit: Abbot was Abbess.]
Lily noticed the taken aback expression on the kind otter's face. She bobbed another curtsy, somehow still seeming elegant despite the mud all over her front.
"Thank you good friend, for your help. Please excuse Thad for his dibbunish behavior. He's only grown up on the outside."
Thad smiled, wiping mud off as well as he could.
"Actually, she's wrong. There's a sensible beat somewhere inside me. I've just been away from the Long Patrol a season too many. I'm the least mature beast around now, and someone has to make the jokes. "
Ensis emitted a booming laugh. "HAHAHA! That is true, very true." As he walked them to the abbey, Ensis asked, "So, how long ago were you stationed at Salamandastron. I was there myself about 12 seasons back."
Thad raised his eyebrows, "Oh, you were stationed there? I just left a season and a half ago. Why were you on post?"
Fate last edited by
OOC: Eliminated comments. Ensis will play the abbot unless Jet objects.
"I was working as a consort between the High Rhulain of the Green Isle to the Badger Lord." Ensis stated in a tone that hinted at pride.
As they spoke, a cough from behind the two newcomers changed the expression on Ensis face from pride to reverence.
"Burr oiy. Yum never seems to let Oi furget it lad." The words belonged to Grumm. Father Abbot of Redwall Abbey.
"Well, doen' jus stand on ee tayol like a brainless ffessont." Abbot Grumm said to Ensis haitly, "inerduce oi to ee guests."
"Sorry Father." Ensis said haisly. "This is Thad of the long patrol and Lily of…Well I think you'll get more out of their own introductions."
(( More eliminated comments. Abbot Grumm be's my chara now.))
"Yes, but erm," Lily gave them a pleading look. "It's awfully wet, and we've traveled a long way. Could we possibly tell our story inside, where it's not so cold?"
The headed to the abbey. Ensis ran ahead to arrange a meal for the newcomers as the Abbot lead the to cavern whole. The only good place for a tail on a rainy day.
"How does hot-root soup, with fresh backed nut bread and strawberry fizz sound fur starters?" He asked as he returned, balancing a basket of bread on one hand, with his for finger through the handle of a large bottle of red liquid, and a steaming pot and several bowls and spoons in the other.
"Oooh, excellent. Thank you very much," Lily purred, leaning into the glow of the fireplace. She was reluctant to leave its delicate warmth, but eyed the soup eagerly.
Thad, in the softer setting, seemed to have matured considerably. Quite the gentlebeast, he served Lily her soup and wrapped a soft patchwork blanket from the corner around her. He waited for her to start eating before spooning a bowl for himself. Two beakers of strawberry fizz were placed as close as possible to the fire. This done, Thad sat down next to Lily on the couch nearest the fire.
"So, the many questions. What can we tell you?
Abbot Grumm, having eaten earlier, stuck to the simple fare of nutbread.
"How do ee know thurs rascle?" he smiled, gesturing to Ensis.
Thad winked at Abbot Grumm.
"Oh, Ensis and I have been friends for ages. Absolute decades."
Lily elbowed him.
"Liar, we only just met." She smiled sweetly at Grumm.
"Hur hur. Oi doun't moind. Tell oi abut thoiself then."
"You first, Thad."
"I'm a citizen of Floret. I've been traveling with Lily here for a couple of seasons, but before that I was a messenger between the Castle and Salamandastron. Met Lily on a morning run during a long stay at the mountain. Um… I like oysters and fish crackers. What else do you want to know about me?"
Grumm laughed. "This baint ee race. Oi have the whole niot. Tell oi thoi hole storie. "
Thad looked surprised. He avoided the Abbot's eyes and glanced around the large room. From his vantage point, Thad could see a corner of a tapestry hanging in the hall. Although the circle of light from the fire didn't go far, the glow somehow found its way out the open door and into the hallway, and the brighter threads seemed to glow. The half he could see showed a flower-spotted field, with an otter in the corner, eyes full of admiration as a gaggle of vermin fled from some unknown horror, faces full of contrition and humiliation. It confused him.
"Where to start?" He looked into his soup, stirring it thoughtfully. "My father was born in the Lutheran holt. He left during a rash of war and famine." The otter hesitated. "I'm not really proud of him for that.
"My mother tried to convince him to stay behind to help the others but deferred to his judgment in the end. On their way south, seeking warmth and prosperity, they steered the waterways wrong and went down a waterfall. My mother died from head trauma and my baby sister drowned.
"My father stopped talking much after that. It was mostly shrugs and yes or no answers. He raised me and my brother, well, to atone for his mistakes. He couldn't bring himself to return to Lutra, where the emotional holes would be keen, so was insistent that we be perfectly loyal to Floret. He trained us to fight well enough that the barracks would take us, and then he disappeared for a few years. This is all important for reasons I will explain later.
"Floret is still somewhat biased in favor of squirrels, I won't lie. They didn't really care if we wanted to be soldiers, but no one talked to us much. I learned of an opening as a messenger and asked if I could have it. There was a race, and I won it, so they gave me the job. I got to know a great deal of the dignitaries and the citizens of Floret that way.
"When my father returned, I had just been promoted to chief-assistant messenger. I was up late the night he came home, filthy and ragged, covered with weeds and stains and scars, half-wild. He shrank from the light of the fireplace and snarled at me when I tried to help him. I went to bed and locked my door. The next day I came out and everything was normal except the door was open, so I thought maybe it had been a dream. No sign of my father. But when I went to report to the castle, I was refused entrance to the royal courts and ordered to report to my commanding officer in the barracks. Despite being a messenger I was still technically a soldier. When I got there I was arrested."
"When... they pulled me out of the dungeon three days later, they accused me of letting my father into the valley and harboring him at my house. I didn't even know he had been banished."
As Ensis and Abbot Grumm served the new guests, they didn't notice a young female red squirrel coming down the stairs. She quickend her step once she saw they were serving new comers and arrived as Ensis was handing nutbread to the guests. She looked in mock disapproval at the Abbot as she took over the job of pouring drinks.
Abbot Grumm I'm ashamed of you! Why didn't you tell me we had guests?
She smiled at Thad and Lily
Hello, My name's Raen. Whats yours? Oh Ensis! We should give them warmed damson wine, their soaked! You wait a minute and I'll bring you both some towels.
She hurried off in the direction of the dormitories without waiting for a reply.
OCC: Umm guessing this is an open thread. Raen is pretty young so she isn't experienced in all the polite greetings 'an all ya know?
((hey, thanks for posting in here! And could you remember to use the quotation thingys around things that are said? It makes it easier to read. Thx!))
"I'm Lily!" The jest echoed in the hall, well after Raen had disappeared.
Lily laughed softly. Thad looked slightly shaken to have been interrupted in the middle of his story, but appreciated the interruption. After a moment he relaxed.
"Should I continue, or wait for the maid so she can listen, too?"
"Do what ee would loike."
Lily nudged him and nodded. So he continued.
"My father was wanted for bribery, treason, murder, and failure to remain outside the boundaries of Floret following banishment. The details for most of the charges were secret and they refused to divulge much more than that. They also accused me of passing Floret secrets to him to sell to enemies in the North, which wouldn't have even been possible, seeing as all the information I was entitled to carry dealt exclusively with politics between Floret and Salamandastron. I was finally acquitted for lack of evidence, but they demoted me to an outside-borders patrol soldier, which is the lowest rank ever gets. After a few weeks, I was assigned to a traveling patrol that was supposed to hunt down my father. When I resisted, I was arrested again, on grounds of treason. My captain assumed that because I refused to help track him down, I was still helping him and trying to prevent his capture so he could continue doing whatever he was doing. That's not true, by the way. I… I just love my father more than Floret. I don't entirely believe he is guilty."
((Ohh wow I somehow missed the fact that there was another page. Completely butted in, sorry. Thanks for breaking for me.))
Once again, Thad was interrupted by the returning Raen who was pushing a small cart from the kitchen. On top, there was a warm pitcher of dark damson wine and on the bottom shelf, four large, soft towels. She passed the towels to Thad and Lily and poured the wine into new beakers before handing them to the two.
"Here you go, I think I heard someone talking about Floret, I was just learning about that place in my history lesson! Whats the story about?
((haha… no prob. People interrupt in real life anyways. It makes it real.))
They accepted the warm drink and towels gratefully. Thad wrapped his arms around Lily and shivered.
Grumm smiled at Raen's eagerness. "Et be a heavy sturee, sweet un. Ee curn stay if ee wurshes, but ee murst be gentlee an' 'spectful."
Raen attempted to look innocent but she was wriggling with excitement to hear Thad's story. She had been fascinated with Floret the first time she learned about it and after that she wanted to know everything about the place. She smiled as she remembered a particularly fun day she had with her best friend, Liona, who was an otter just like Thad. They had pretended they were living at Castle Floret. Raen had played the king and Liona pretended she was his personal bodyguard. She stiffled a giggle as she nodded in agreement to the Abbot.
"Don't worry Father, I'll be good."
Thad smiled at the squirrelmaid, pushing aside his person concerns about their history. He could edit the details a little.
"What would you like to know about Floret, little one?"
Raen thought for a moment before she replied.
"Oh everything! What's it like? Is the king good? How about the otter guards? My friend Liona wants to be one you know. And why did you leave it? Why are you here?"