The swish of Sebastion's coat filled the corridors as the odd bat marched through the halls of Redwall, with another beast following in his wake. They walked down the hallway until they reached the great hall. The sun was covered by a layer of dark grey clouds, giving the scene an air of gloom.
In the center of the room, was a large blanket covering a mass about the size of a section of tree trunk, 5 feet long. Around it, a crowd of Redwallers had gathered. The father abbot, abbey champion, badger mum, Skipper, and Log-a-Log stood around the blanket, trying to get the Redwallers to go.
"Move along mateys. Nothing you can do 'ere. Go on back to ee doot'ies," Skipper said, spreading his arms.
"It's no use Skipper," The crowd turned and slowly parted to make an aisle for Sebastion and his follower to walk down, "you’d have better luck telling a river to turn around. 'Scuse me Gerald," He politely pushed past the abbot and knelt next to the blanket, “Now let's see what we have here,” Lifting the corner of the blanket, he sniffed, closing his eyes, “Hmmmmmmmm… Otter, male, about twenty seasons old. (Sniff sniff) Frequented the kitchens for (Sniff) hotroot, shrimp, and... white cheese,” He rose to his feet, still holding the blanket corner, "Obviously a kitchen worker from the overwhelming smells of food. Time of death,” With a dramatic tug, he drew the blanket off the body and a terrified murmur went through the crowd, “About ten A.M. Mossflower time.”
It was indeed a male otter of twenty seasons, wearing a kitchen apron, and had a bloody wound on his head. Next to his head, was a dagger with a bloody blade. There was a small smear of mud on the ground, a few, sparse stalks of field grass, and a black thread on the blade handle.
Sebastion looked over the scene then looked to the beast standing next to him, “Time to pull your weight; what do you make of this?”
(OOC: open to all)
OOC: This thread has no replies… so I'm posting. Can I sort of be Sebastion's Dr. Watson?
“Time to pull your weight; what do you make of this?”
Staring at the dead young otter and the available clues for a minute, Gregory could only think of one answer. "Well, I think we have a murderer at Redwall Abbey. You?" Gregory turned toward Sebastion.
(OOC: Absolutely Dr. Watson :D)
"Undoubtedly my friend," Sebastian clapped his friend on the shoulder, "Now then. Let's see what we can make of these clues," Sebastian knelt next to the otter's body. He examined the grass and mud closely, seeing in which direction the mud was smeared. He picked up one of the stalks of grass and nibbled on the end of it, then leaned back to consider things, "It would appear that the beast that did this had been outside before this incident. It rained five days ago. all the mud has dried up, except the stuff in the ditch, and this grass is too tall to grow in the forest. It seems to be plains grass. all that's left is the dagger and the wound."
(OOC: Double -checking: Sebastion's a bat, right?)
Greg crouched to look at the wound, "We could ask Sister to come and take a look at this…" The blood had dried up and the puddle around it was drying up. Then he turned his attention towards the dagger and picked it up by the handle. "No one at Redwall Abbey would possess a dagger like this, except for knives in the kitchen." Greg scraped softly at the crusty blood on the dagger, "No initials, whatsoever, except for three scratch marks on the end of the blade." he inspected the black thread. "I have no idea, what to do with this..."
(OOC: Yep. Bat)
Sebastian walked around the body and knelt next to Gregory, examining the dagger, "Hmmm…," He leaned in and looked at the three scratches, "Peculiar. These scratches... they look like teeth marks, like whoever did this was biting the end of their dagger, and this thread... no one at Redwall wears black. Now for the wound," He got up and turned to Skipper, "Skipper, would you fetch sister Arnica from the infirmary please. We need her to help solve a murder."
Skipper ran off to the infirmary to get the sister and Sebastian turned to the abbot, "It would appear that someone who recently entered the abbey is guilty of murder. Has anyone left the premise since ten O'clock this morning?"
"No, I don't think so," The abbot replied.
"Good. Have the gates locked and put a watch of your most trusted all along the walltops. Whoever did this, they're still here."
Gregory carefully dropped the dagger and the thread into a small satchel for clues just as Sister Arnica arrived jogging with her medical supplies.
Sister Arnica pushed her way through the crowd that had stayed put despite Skipper's attempts to have them disperse, "Oh my! Who would do such a thingAAAAAHHH!!!" She saw the body then caught sight of Sebastian. Not many beasts at Redwall were used to seeing a bat.
He nodded to her, "Hello sister. We didn't mean to trouble you, but we're attempting to solve a mystery, and your expertise regarding medicine and injury is required."
Arnica looked at Sebastian for a moment, then at the body, "Well… I can tell you right now that it wasn't the dagger's blade that killed him."
The sister knelt next to the otter's body and hesitantly moved his head around, "Because there's no entry wound. There is a large lump on the back of his head though. I'd have to say this was the work of a club, or maybe the dagger's handle."
Sebastian rubbed his chin and pursed his lips as Arnica got up and took a step away from the body, "Hmmm, the plot thickens it would appear. Why would someone want to make it look like someone was killed with a dagger. Hmmm, strange indeed. Gregory my boy! Any opinion?"
"Hmm… Refusal to put the blade into the victim's body, clubbing it to death instead...," he scratched his chin. He was slightly confused, the motive could sometimes be the hardest to find out. "Why would he want to kill the otter in the first place especially this one? Why not kill a female otter or a mouse?" Thoughts and questions were abound, he needed answers. "The murderer could've done it in jealousy, anger, or maybe he/she was mentally challenged? Maybe this is a warning, threat, or message, he/she is trying to give us. Or this could be a time sensitive case and the murderer may strike again!" So many questions, so little answers.
"Perhaps," Sebastian thought out loud, "Perhaps the murderer had a history with the victim, as you said," He turned to Skipper, "Skipper, did you know this otter?"
"Aye. A,course I knew 'im. That was Kenda starudder. 'Ee used to be chief of a holt 'bout five days up the river Moss, but then the holt started preforming strange rituals behind 'is back, so 'ee left."
"Hmmm…" Sebastian opened the evidence satchel and took out the thread, "Holt turns into a cult. The chief leaves. Then he dies a mysterious death with an exotic knife and thread at the scene. Interesting... Skipper! This Holt, is it five days by land or on boat?"
"Land. By boat you could make it in three."
"And by air..." Sebastian mused, then turned to Gregory, "Gregory, I'm going to be gone for a few days. Keep up the investigation, and check around every corner. If I had to guess, I'd say this killer won't be too happy at being caged."
With that, Sebastian marched off to a window, spread his wings, and flew off in the direction of the river Moss.
As sebastion took off into the sky, Gregory knew immediately what he had to do. Interrogate those who knew the victim! Taking out a few pieces of parchment and a quill and ink bottle. He strapped the ink bottle to his waist and approached a concerned-looking Skipper.
"Excuse Skipper, but may I have a few words with you?" and dipped the quill in ink.
"Aye matey. Ask as many questions as you need to. I just hope you ain't accusing me. I'd like to see this murderer brought to justice as much as anybody. SHARKS! That reminds me!" Skipper grabbed a passing otter, "Fetch Lily Starudder and young Thia Starudder! Hurry! Bring them here, quickly!"
As the otter ran off Skipper smiled and winked at Gregory, "If the murderer killed Kendra, ee' might go after 'is family. Eh, smart. I got more 'n sea water twixt these ears ya know."
One day later…
Sebastian yawned as he glided on air currents up the river Moss. For a few hours he'd kept himself awake by talking with a group of migrating geese, but they weren't very good conversationalists. Now, he was only about an hour away from the holt. He angled down and alighted on the branch of a tall tree. He yawned again and gripped the branch with his back claws, hanging upside down. He grabbed his hat and pack and secured them to the branch, then wrapped his wings around him and fell asleep.
"SHARKS! That reminds me!"
Gregory jumped in suprise.
"If the murderer killed Kendra, ee' might go after 'is family. Eh, smart. I got more 'n sea water twixt these ears ya know."
"You sure do, Skipper, ehehe," he attempted a laugh. Meanwhile, two young ottermaids approached them with a sad expression on their faces.
Greyfang and Deadtail didn't realize they were hitting a sleeping Sebastion with a long branch in an attempt to steal his pack. Greyfang was standing on top of Deadtail's shoulders as he swung the to the tree limb.
"Move closa! I can' touch it yet!" Greyfang yelled at his brother as he tried to inch closer to the right.
(OOC: You can drive them off. :D I just felt guilty because you were handling more charas than me.)
Sebastian quietly woke up, having taught himself to always act as if he were still asleep. He cracked one eye open and rolled it up in his head, so he was looking down. He saw a pair of vermin right below him, trying to whack his pack out of the tree but hitting him instead. He rolled his closed eyes as they argued loudly and continued clubbing him. He waited a moment, then flexed his legs and let go of the branch. He spun right side up again and grabbed his pack and hat before falling down on top of the twin rats. He flattened them then landed on the ground in front of the pair. Effortlessly, he swung his pack and hat on. Next, he drew his sword and crossbow, pressing the sword to Deadtail's neck, and the crossbow, to the side of Greyfang's head.
Don't worry boys, I won't be killin' ya today, regretfully. No real harm done, to myself anyway. You two on the other paw might have some nasty broken…" Suddenly, Sebastian froze and his ears swivelled everywhere.
Slowly, he knelt down between the two confused rats and set his weapons on the ground, "I'd advise you two to follow suit. I have the sinking feeling we're about to be captured." He slowly stood with his paws over his head as a score of large otters came out of the forest on all sides.
The rat brothers were scared out of their wits. They have never seen so many riverdogs! Greyfang ignored the bat's advice and whispered to Deadtail.
"On da count o' three, we make a mad run fer it. One, two, " he whispered to his frightened brother.
"THREE!" Deadtail yelled and ran headfirst into two skinny looking otters and the suprised Greyfang scrambled after.
The two skinny otters gently but firmly took the rats by an arm each, and two larger otters walked up and towered behind them, as a new otter came out of the forest and approached Sebastian. He smiled warmly at the bat, and now that he looked around, Sebastian saw that none of the otters looked all that threatening.
"Welcome friends!" The new otter announced brightly, spreading his paws wide, "Welcome to Holt Starudder. I am called Bellnuu. I am the temporary leader of our holt while our leader is away. Please, come. Join us for breakfast and perhaps stay for a day or two."
Sebastian eyed the otters around him with suspicion, eyeing the new otter, Bellnuu, with the most suspicion, then he lowered his paws and picked up his weapons warily, "Alright… I suppose we'll stay for a day or so. And we won't cause any trouble, you can count on that," He shot Deadtail and Greyfang a hard warning stare.
"Excellent! I'd like you to meet Fenn, my son," A nervous looking otter who kept his eyes on the ground came out from behind Bellnuu. He was only about twelve seasons old, and was absently drawing in the dirt with his foot, "He will be your guide and escort for as long as you decide to stay with us. Now then, come. We're missing breakfast." He clapped his paws and smiled broadly. Everyone started walking in one direction and Sebastian was about to follow after a pause when he happened to glance at the ground at Fenn's feet. At first, it just looked like scribbles, but then it clicked in his mind, but it wasn't even a second before Fenn turned to follow the others and wiped his message away with his tail.
It had been just an arrangement of meaningless letters, eraweb, but then, Sebastian had read it backwards.
(OOC: SUSPENSE! ;D)
Greyfang and Deadtail squirmed in the otters arms. Kicking madly, they shouted, "Let goes of me, yew riverdogs!"
They were soon dropped back down confused.
And we won't cause any trouble, you can count on that.
Seeing his glare, they nodded like good little dibbuns. At the sound of the word breakfast, the two rats followed the leader of the otters.
Back at Redwall…
Thia held on to her mother Lily's dress, reluctant to let go, while her mother walked into a room with Gregory to be questioned. Her mother looked at her sadly and knelt down, putting both paws on Thia's shoulders. She hugged her tight, then stood and walked into the room with Gregory.
Thia stared at the door for a moment, sniffed, then turned to look for Skipper. With her father dead, Skipper was one of the only beasts she trusted. She walked down a hallway, holding her paws together over her chest and looking around. There was an air of shock and sadness around the Redwallers she passed. There hadn't been a deliberate murder in Redwall since... well, no one could even remember the last one.
She walked over to her father's body, which was being prepared for burial. The wound on his head had been wrapped in white cloth, and he'd been put in a fine set of clothes. If it hadn't been for the paleness of his skin, it would have looked like he was still alive, and just sleeping. She put a paw on his and looked at his expressionless face for a long moment. She leaned over and kissed him on the forehead, then continued her search for Skipper.
Thia spent the next five minutes quietly crying as she wandered the halls, halfheartedly searching for Skipper. She looked around the hallway she was in and realized there was no one anywhere that she could see. She spun slowly, rubbing the tears from her eyes and looking everywhere but the hall was vacant in both directions. She suddenly had an uneasy feeling, like it had just gotten cold inside her.
She felt somebeast watching her, and she slowly, very slowly, turned around. At the end of the hall, at the bottom of a flight of spiraling stairs and behind a bright dust moat, there stood a tall figure in an enveloping cloak. Because of the shimmering dust, she couldn't tell what color the cloak was, and because of the hood he wore, she couldn't see his face.
They stood perfectly still, watching each other, then the cloaked beast took one step forward, into the moat. His cloak was black as night. Thia stood, petrified by a bombardment of emotions. Anger at her father's killer. Fear of being hurt. Shock at the situation in general. But all those emotions vanished and were replaced by a single jolt of adrenaline as the figure pulled a sort of throwing club out of his cloak and hurled it at Thia's head. She darted to the floor, narrowly missing the projectile, but when she looked up, the hall was empty again, like the killer had vanished into nothingness.
emotionalvery emotional interrogation with Mrs. Starrudder, he found out that Kendra was last seen by her helping out in the Abbey kitchens. He was perfectly content according to her and she knew that her husand would never do anything harmful to hurt anybeast. Well, except vermin.
Gregory escorted her out of the room.
Drying the last bits of tears, she asked, "Where's Thia?"
Barely noticing her disappearance, Gregory's eyes grew wide. "She's not here?"
"Of course, she's not here! There's no ottermaid in the Hall." Worry grew in her voice.
Realizing the danger she and Thia were in, he grabbed her paw firmly and led her on a rampage through the building. "We need to find your daughter quickly. After we find her we need to get you and Thia someplace safe. Someplace that no abbeybeast may know of," he murmured to her with searching eyes. Skipper's words kept repeating in his mind.
"If the murderer killed Kendra, ee' might go after 'is family.
Gregory turned a corner sharply while dragging Lily behing him and bumped into a beast.
Gregory and Lily rounded a corner and bumped right into Skipper, who was going in the opposite direction. He pulled to a stop and looked startled, then he quickly apologized and kept walking briskly.
As Skipper disappeared around another turn behind Gregory and Lily, Thia came running up. She clung tightly to Lily's dress and buried her face in it. Lily gasped with relief and held Thia tightly, rubbing her cheek against her daughter's head. After several minutes of silent, terrified shivering in her mother's dress, Thia stuttered out what had happened, turning pale as she described the killer.
Sebastian watched everything suspiciously as the otter holt moved around him and the two rats. Friendly otters tended fires and cooked fish. They also fixed up salad and hauled fresh water for drinking. Two pretty otter maids came up to Greyfang and Deadtail, carrying plates heaped with food and smiling sweetly. Fenn was also smiling, but Sebastian could tell it was a forced, upset smile. He took Fenn's paw and discretely led him away from the others. As expected, he didn't resist, and the instant they were out of sight of the other otters, leaving Greyfang and Deadtail alone, he quit smiling. Instead, he glanced back at the camp fearfully every ten seconds.
Sebastian led him far from the camp, down near the river, then turned to the young otter, "Alright Fenn, you don't seem to be in league with those other otters, at least not willingly, so I'll level with you. What is going on around here?"
Fenn looked back again, then looked at Sebastian, biting his lower lip fearfully. He glanced back and forth several times, then the foney smile returned, "Nothing. Come on, we'll miss breakfast."
Sebastian exhaled loudly as Fenn turned and hurried back to the camp. There was obviously something very wrong with this place, something so bad, Fenn was afraid to say it out loud. This could, probably would, be dangerous.
Gregory listened closely to all the details, writing almost every single word that escaped from her mouth. That poor child. She just wants to know who killed her father. he thought to himself. When Lily had finally calmed her down and when she had returned to her normal color. Gregory as the young ottermaid calmly, "Now can you show me exactly where you saw the creature that tried to kill you?" Then Thia led them off into the Abbey while Lily and Gregory trailed right behing her.
Greyfang and Deadtail were in paradise. There was vittles everywhere, pretty young maids as servants, and shelter. What more can a rat ask for? They started eating all of the food in set in front of them as if they had been through a seven-season famine. They drank and laughed heartily with the other otters. Told the cheesy corsair jokes which to their surprise made the riverdogs laugh. They even danced and sang to their music horribly. Although they were too busy living it up to see that something was passed in between the otters.