The lost water rat empire
Sorry this might be a little bit rough.
Marks was captain of the ship swiftboard. He was in pursuit of the vermin crew of weasels and foxes led by the fierce water rat pirate deathblade. Why are we turning the ship? He asked a young squirrel recruit who was captain of a small group of squirrel warrior rowers who came on their own freewill. "because theres a storm ahead!" he said. Well the vermin ship ahead went straight so I want you to go straight into the storm! All right but it isn't good.
The swiftboard sailed into the storm. When all the sudden the vermin ship dissapeared. Mark headed up to the
mast to look for the ship. When all of the sudden a huge wave swept up. The ship tried to fight the waves but the waves bashed the ship onto the rocks of a nearby island and knocked them unconsience.
When they came back to conciencess water rats had surrounded them. You're coming with us woodlanders! To become the slaves of the High King Swiftblade!
Penblade opened his eyes wearily. He groaned and sat up, rubbing his pounding head. He looked around to find his amfibious ship was bobbing in the middle of the ocean, and there was a storm coming his way too, perfect.
"How did I end up here?" He wondered to himself as he stumbled to his paws. He clearly remembered furling the sails and parking his waggon wheel augmented ship in the dunes next to the coast.
He distractedly brought a paw up to shade his eyes to look around and bonked his forehead with something he was holding. He blinked in surprise then squinted at the object… a bottle apparently... and read aloud, "Badger's Fire Whiskey, Redwall Cellars, Autumm of the Dancing Trees."
He looked at the bottle in confusion for a moment, then remembered the pounding in his head. His eyes drooped and he stared at the bottle flatly, "Oh," He tossed the empty bottle overboard into the growing waves, "That explains it."
He grabbed onto the mast as a particularly large wave rocked the ship. Rushing back to the tiller, he noticed a dark mass a few hundred yards away over the waves. He turned the ship toward the mass, reasoning that anything was better than being caught at sea in a storm.
Penblade squinted against the growing rain. He was close enough now to see the mass was an island (Uncharted to be exact), and there appeared to be a shipwreck on it. Manuvering his vessel in between the rocks, onto a small beach, he moored his ship to a rock and crept closer to the wreck, which seemed to be teeming with rats. He crouched amongst the rocks close enough to hear the words being exchanged, his dark fur, dark clothing, and the enveloping rain making him look for all the world like a boulder.
As Mark was carried off to wherever they were going. He thought he saw a large boulder move, but he kept that thought to himself.
They kept on going until they got to a village which in the middle was a huge castle made out of pure black stones. With at least 20 turrets, with water rats coming out of its many gates every second. The water rats carried them into the castle which had a carpet of silk. And the walls looked liked it was made of some sort of gold type metal. After many halls they reached the dungeon. Which was made up of many very steep pits with ratgaurds all around the pits. They lowered them down on ladders and rolled up the ladders. You'll stay here for one hour then you will meet the mighty High King Swiftblade! Then they left them in complete black as they snuffed out the lamps.
Penblade rubbed his muzzle in thought as the woodlanders were carried away by the rats. He thought he saw one of them, a hare he vaguely remembered seeing before, notice him, but the hare looked away when one of the rats started to shout at him.
He followed the procession of rats and woodlanders to a village, keeping well back and off the path, which swarmed with rats despite the weather. The entire time, he kept trying to remember who the hare was.
From the top of a rise he lay down on his stomach and watched the group enter an ominous looking black palace. He rubbed his chin again. It would seem impossible to get into the castle with one's head still intact. "Pity," He said aloud as he got up and walked back the way he had come.
As he neared the rocks he had moored his ship in, he remembered the hare. He was… Mitch, or Martin, no wait! Mark! That was it! He was Mark. Penblade had given him directions a season or two ago. Mark had just appeared in Penblade's camp one morning, introduced himself, and asked if He'd seen a band of rats lately. Penblade had pointed down the path, and Mark had dashed away without another word.
Poor Mark, he thought, I hope he finds a way to esca...
Penblade's train of thought was suddenly derailed as he rounded a boulder. He stared for a moment, then shouted into the storm at the same time that a blast of thunder rent the heavens, "OH, FOR THE LOVE OF MOSSFLOWER!!!!"
The rope holding his ship in place had snapped, and his ship was now drifting rapidly out to sea. Penblade sat on the ground and seethed with agitation for a while, then the wheels in his brain started to turn. He crept up and took a good look at the shipwreck the woodlanders had been captured at. On close inspection, there actually didn't seem to be any holes in the hull; it was just beached. He also saw a gang of rats that were taking crates from the ship and carrying them toward the castle.
Gears whirred and clicked in his head as a possibility, really the only possibility, formed in his mind. The only chance he or the woodlanders had of getting off the island, was if the woodlanders were to escape.
He dashed across the sand and climbed into a crate as the group of rats weren't looking. As he fit the crate's lid tightly over him and tried to find a semi-comfortable position, he muttered to himself, "My ship is lost at sea, my fur is thouroughly soaked, I'm stranded on an island full of rats, and my only hope of getting off is in their stronghold. Why me?"
After the water rats had left Mark started talking. "Well we're in a big pickle wot wot. but we got ourselves in this pickle and I reckon we can get ourselves out of it since we got ourselves in it. Anyone have any ideas?"
A rather young squirrel named scamper only 5 seasons old who had come along with his parents suggested "why don't we build a catapult and fling ourselves out?" "Sorry Scamper but I don't think that will work. said Mark." "Wait a minute there are ten squirrels 1 hare me and one mole and we have 1 hour. I have an idea that just might work.
"I hate my life, I hate my life, I hate my life," Penblade thought over and over again while he bit his tongue to stop himself from screaming. His leg had been cramping for nearly five minutes now, and the rats carrying his crate were abominably slow.
Finally, the moisture seeping in through the crate's lid lessened and stopped, which either meant they were inside the palace, or he was losing feeling in his skin. He had an inclination to believe it was both. He felt the crate stop and heard a rat shouting.
"Da king wants da crates in da store rooms! Don't jus' sit d'ere! Get a move on!" The crate continued moving as the rat shouted after the rats, "And I don't wan' t' hear any of you've been peekin' in dem crates!"
They continued for a while, then the rats came to a gasping halt and dropped the crate on the ground. They leaned against the crate and made no move to leave, which wasn't very good for Penblade. He thought for a moment, then, summoning all his talent as a story teller, he shouted like the other rat had, "'Ey you lazy lot! Whad 're you doin' sittin' 'round 'ere for?! Get back t' work!"
He heard the rats scramble away, and as their paw steps faded away, he finally lost his patience and shoved upward on the crate lid, his leg driving him mad.
The lid popped off. Penblade rose to his full height and started rubbing his leg furiously. It took a few seconds, but Penblade eventually noticed the lone rat standing in the doorway of the dark store room, gaping at him. They stared at each other for a moment, then the rat's eyes crossed and he fell backwards, unconscious with shock.
Penblade quickly limped over, still rubbing his leg, and dragged the rat into the room, then stuffed him in the crate and refastened the lid.
"Okay," He whispered, looking around, "Now what?"
"Do you think that the ratguards counted us ?" He asked the others. "no" "Well then one of us will slip out of the line when there taking us to the king and that person can stay behind until we come back then he'll lower the ladder to us. ok?" They were about to say something else when all the sudden 10 ratgaurds appeared "You're coming with us to see the high king!" A squirrel whose name was treepaw slipped out to wait for them to come back. They took them to King Swiftblade's throneroom for judgement. It was a huge throneroom made out of pure silver and it was massive. The king had at least 20 woodlanders as servants. The king was a enourmously fat and was drinking out of a enourmous golden goblet So you are da woodlander rabble who landed on my empire island. Okay I will decide your punishment for landing on my empire. You fat rabbet, you will work on
building my city. You squirrel, you will collect wood in the trees. And you mole you will dig my cellars. you will be split up and not go back to your prison cell." "Oh yeah an flog em all." "You're a big fat mean old rat!" Yelled Mark. Just for that I will put you in the mines beneath the castle." said the king. All the woodlander slaves in the room gasped "That'll teach you to call me fat!" said the king
Penblade wandered the halls outside the store room. He wasn't sure where he was any more. He seemed to have stumbled on a part of the palace still under construction. A few times he had almost been spotted by roaming guards, but there weren't very many torches in this part of the palace, so they couldn't see him.
He walked down a hallway, and found after a few feet that there weren't any torches at all around here. Suddenly, the hallway opened up to massive cavern with pits everywhere. He accidentally walked right into a rat guard in the dark.
"'Ey! 'Oo d' you think…" The rat guard turned and saw only a giant shadow in the doorway. His mouth hung open and Penblade could see his lower jaw trembling. He thought for a moment and looked around. This looked like the kind of place one might keep slaves. He grinned and remembered how superstitious rats could be. Time for another gamble, he thought. He raised his paws, blotting out all light from the hallway, and in his deepest, most terrifying voice, he bellowed, his voice reverberating off the cave walls...
"I am the Darkness!! All those who look upon me shall know both fear and death!! I have come to avenge those who have died here!! Come to me, and I will show you the end!!!"
Even before he had finished, the rat guards were running off down the other hallways, screaming and wailing. He felt around and found a lamp. Lighting it with flint and tinder, he went around, unrolling ladders and lighting torches, he even found a spear some terrified rat had dropped. He looked around at the woodlanders climbing out of the pits, but he didn't see any of the beasts from the ship.
Mark hated himself for being so stupid as he dug in the mines. The mines were hot, tiring, black, and painful. He stumbled over rocks as he went toward the end of a tunnel as he went to dig a tunnel the end of it. There were rat guards everywhere but none of them went in the tunnels. He walked wearily to the end of the tunnel. when all the sudden he heard a rumble. "Oh no eh cavein!" yelled one of the ratguards. Mark ran frantically away from the end of the tunnel. But all the sudden the rocks fell in front of him. "I'm trapped!" thought Mark. But then he noticed something. "Hey the cavein opened up a opening at the top of the cave." He thought as he scrambled up to the opening.
Penblade leaned over to help the last emaciated squirrel out of a pit, but he slipped accidentally. He tumbled down and landed hard on the bottom of the pit. He groaned as he sat up and rubbed his spine, "Ah, my poor back."
He soon forgot his back as the ground beneath him started to rumble and sink. He grabbed onto the rope ladder and climbed upward as the floor of the pit collapsed.
He reached the rim of the pit and waved a thin mouse toward him. He gestured down, "What's below these pits?"
The mouse thought for a moment, "The mines."
"Oh," Penblade nodded for a moment, "What does that mean?"
Mark tunneled up to the ground He breathed a huge sigh of relief when he reached the land. Well now I'll see about finding my friends wot wot.
So he found the mole who was with a whole bunch of other moles digging the cellars. "Where are the gaurds." He asked them. "Oh oi thoink they want that way toward thee moines when thoiy collapsed." (OOC: sorry if my mole speach is bad.)
ICC: Mark and the moles hurried over to the forest where there were a whole bunch of squirrels. Holding a war council. "I say we storm that heap of rubbish they call a castle!" Yelled a squirrel named chugger that was on the ship before it crashed. "Yeah" yelled all the other squirrels. "I don't think you should do it that way." said Mark. Everybody turned around quickly. Chugger said " Everybody this is Mark he was capt. of my ship before we got shipwrecked here." "I don't think you should go about it this way." said Mark. "Then how do you think we should do it." "I'll tell you" said Mark. "Well, they have all those prisoners that are in the castle, and they will kill them if we storm the castle. so here's what I suggest…....
They all went forward to carry off the plan. They were all armed with various sharp objects. The moles were going to dig tunnels into the mines. Then they would all go into the tunnels and rescue the slaves secretly.
So they all went forward. But they did not see a young squirrel sneak off toward the castle to tell the king their plan.
Stintill the rat ran down the mineshaft, following the orders of captain shill. He passed several slaves hacking halfheartedly at the walls. He turned a corner and stared in terror. In front of him was a massive black shape, more like a hole in the light. It was so big it filled the entire tunnel, leaving just a thin outline of light at the edges. His eyes bugged, his paws began to tremble, his mouth went dry, and he started to sweat profusely. The shape stirred and began to move toward him.
Stintill's spear stood for a few seconds then toppled over as its owner tore down the tunnel, in the opposite direction from the shadowy darkness. Slaves stopped and turned as they heard the shape's thunderous roar, "FLEEEEEEEEEE, VERRRRMIIIN!!!! THE DARKNESS IS COMING FOR YOU!!!! FLEE IF YOU WISH TO LIVE!!!!"
Slaves clung to each other in fear as torches went out and an oily shadow came down the tunnel. It stopped to look down at a frail old otter and a young squirrel maid. It was still for a moment, then a paw and arm materialized from its bulk. In the paw, it held a shiny cutlass. It raised the weapon above its head and brought it down as the otter and squirrel held each other and closed their eyes tightly.
They opened their eyes tentatively and gasped as the shape held up the chain that linked all the slaves together. It was cut in half! They couldn't do anything but gaze in wonder as the shape drew back its hood and winked roguishly at them.
Penblade swept on down the tunnel, behind him trailing an army of crying, laughing slaves, from both the pits and the mines, all of them, armed to the teeth and eager for revenge.
Mark was leading the group toward the tunnels. They actually were all at the tunnels and the moles had started digging when all the sudden an army of vermin snuck up behind them with the young squirrel with them. Their was a small fight but they were taken by them quickly. " You traitor!" Yelled Mark as they were carted off.
Penblade watched from the black depths of the tunnel farther in as Mark and the others were taken away toward the castle, no doubt to be executed. He pressed himself against the tunnel wall as a nervous rat came down the tunnel from the opening where Mark had just been captured. The rat had no torch, so he walked right past Penblade, who was dark enough to blend in with the shadows.
Penblade silently stepped out into the middle of the tunnel, blotting out all light from the entrance. The rat spun around and Penblade's paw shot out. With a thud, the rat was pinned squirming to the wall. He soon went rigid as he saw that he was pinned by the giant shadow the guards from the slave pits had been babbling about.
"Where are they taking those woodlanders? Speak quickly and you may live."
"D-d-d-do da' drone room, do be executed," the rat sputtered.
Without another word, Penblade swept back into the tunnel to bring his army in through the pits. The rat sank to his knees then curled into a little shaking ball as The Darkness melted into the shadows.
They were all in the room called the drone room where they were all going to be executed. Most of them were laying in a guillotine, Mark was to be executed first. "Ha dis shows ya what happens with me when you mess with da king." Yelled the king. Mark lay trembling with rage in the guillotine nothing he could do.
The king laughed maniacally as a rat wearing a black hood stepped up to Mark's guillotine, poised to activate it.
Suddenly, there was a scream, and all the rats spun to face the entrance to the throne room. The guards who had been standing there were gone. There was another scream and torches all around the room started to go out, plunging the room into darkness. The room being at the center of the castle, there were no windows, meaning the darkness was complete.
The guards brandished their weapons fearfully. A low giggle was heard from somewhere in the room. The giggle soon rose to a laugh, then to a roaring, barrel chested chuckle. A trembling rat lit a torch and a terrified gasp went through the other rats. The rat with the torch looked around quizzically, then heard something behind him growl. He slowly looked up. The Darkness stood over him. He barely had time to let out a horrified screech before Penblade swept his cloak around him, extinguishing the torch and vanishing the rat. With a sharp rap to the head the rat was knocked out as slave woodlanders crept into the room from the dark entrance way. More screams rent the air as the woodlanders began to exact their revenge.
Striding through the one sided melee, Penblade grabbed hold of Mark's guillotine and wrenched at it. With a crack, the upper half of the execution device came off.
He stared in awe up at the huge badger. "That was amazing." he said. " Don't talk now theres a fight." He said. The king was creeping up with a pitiful army. The enraged slaves fought a quickly defeated them. Then they sat down to a huge victory feast.