_The mouse was a bit tall but Riversong didn’t really notice that half so much as she noticed the sword. Shining and sharp it would be if it were pulled, she felt that certainly though she had no idea why. Her leg drummed hard on the packed earth as she crouched down rather then rise up. She had as good a pair of legs as any but she was smaller then other squirrels and against a mouse so tall with such a long sword she wasn’t about to do any wide kicking. A few moments beating the earth with her off leg was enough to ward off most lone beasts. If it came to it though short and sharp would serve better and though she was afraid of the sword, the mouse and so many other things she couldn't recall at that moment she held her ground.
Ages passed in the span of furious heartbeats as Riversong waited but the mouse simply looked at her. Proud and suspicious it was like every shop keeper who’d ever laid eyes on her, looking into the black pit of her heart and finding her wanting. The drumming went from warning to challenge as she felt the unfamiliar call to battle rise up in her blood. She’d done nothing to this mouse but he was judging her already like everyone already did and it was infuriating.
“Good beast!” She spat the word like a curse.
“Who are you to me that you can look on me so!” Lower and more dangerous these words took on a silken edge that threatened true violence. Behind the mouse Garn Split-ear and Cracked Claw looked on with amusement as Sharn concerned himself chiefly with the ground. He’d never been much of one for anything, even when it came to keeping the captives in line Split-ear had always had to tell him what to do thought it was Garns skill with the whip that had frightened the other slaves. As in life they had no particular interest in Riversong if no coin was to be made and she was preoccupied with the imperious mouse.
“What of them!?” Riversong demanded as the mouse pointed a single sinewy paw toward the group. Looking on them she remembered the evening she’d at last gone free and her role in the groups demise. No sense of accomplishment fallowed nor even malice. They’d done to her as they’d done to every slave before her and she’d ended them in to ensure her escape.
“Ah yes, I forget, good beasts don't care for cold blood.” She moved forward, her legs still save as they rose and fell to carry her about as she encircled the mouse. Having grown up surrounded by vermin she moved more like a stoat then a proper squirrel in that moment.
“You always want a fight, to make things hard and painful.” She didn’t understand how but the mouse managed to face her no matter how she moved without seeming to lift a single foot paw just as the vermin slavers stayed always at her right just at the edge of her vision.
“Well I’m no good beast nor vermin. LEAVE ME ALONE!” She shouted the last and sprang away into the swamp away from the slavers and the mouse. In the course of her brief life she’d done many things other beasts would consider terrible and would likely commit many more but she had no true quarrel with the mouse or the shades of days and deed long gone by. Without a backwards look she fled into the nightmare swamp of her childhood and felt relief among the familiar shadows._
The chill of dew on her nose woke Riversong to the wane light of morning and with a growl she sat up in her makeshift nest. Her dream had been disturbing but wakefulness blurred the details into a wash of emotion and a few disconnected images. Rising up to stretch she wondered at the vermin appearing as she had not thought of them in many seasons while the sympathetic face of a mouse made her tail bristle with anger even as her face heated with shame. There was something to it that made her feel vulnerable and oddly tolerated though she had no idea why, just as she could not account for why she felt as though she had been up running all the night rather then sleeping as she surely had been.
Shrugging the strangeness off she gathered up her few possessions and turned her eyes to the distance. From her perch she could see a far off clearing and a smudge of red. There was no real reason for her to seek out the fabled abbey but she’d been heading toward it knowingly and sometimes otherwise for seasons. With the place within eye sight she felt suddenly reluctant to venture closer as she knew that the truth of the place could not hold up to her daydreams and snippets of story she’d heard about it. All the same though with her backpack hoisted securely on her shoulders she bounded off into the trees. Come what may she would see her strange little quest through to the end if only so she could kill the dream properly and be done with it.