"Tomorrow was to be the race!" News spread quickly through Redwall. There were exited murmurs passing along the halls. Arlen had heard also. He was just as exited about it as any of the others. He just didn't show it. He was almost as scared as he was exited. He was a very good runner and had won the prize a few times before. If he won again he would be out in front of all though's beasts. He was very nervous in front of so many beasts and once considered letting some other beast win. There were so many of them too, he thought. He went up to the wall top to find Adara. He found her there sitting reading a book in the warm sun light. She looked up at him as he padded softly toward her, she smiled and said,
" Hello Arlen," " Hello Adara." He said a little nervous
" have you heard? There is to be a wall top race tomorrow. Are you going to race in it?"
" A wall top race?" she inquired, she had only be there for a season a season now and was still learning their ways.
" Its a race in which most beasts take place. Everyone lines up on the wall top and they race around the wall. Some of the older or younger beasts enter in the grass race which takes place right below the wall.And there is a prize for the winner"
" Oh I see now. It sounds like fun! Sure I'll race!"
" I was just going to practice up a little, I havn't done much running recently" Arlen said.
" Oh do you mind if I watch?"
" Sure I guess you could if you wanted to." Then with that he started off along the wall. He made it to the East wall very quickly, then turning the corner he headed towards the North wall.  He was back shortly breathing heavily.
" That was fast!" Adara said amazed, " I can't run that fast."

Later that night Arlen was taking a stroll in the moonlight. He was strolling through the orchards when he noticed a shape on the wall top. It was Adara she was running along the wall top. She was still recovering from her wounds and was still getting in shape. She made it all the way around she collapsed breathing hard on the wall top. She had run very fast though not quit as fast as he had but very close, if she had been in as good of shape as he had she would be faster than he. He went back to the abbey and went up to his room thinking hard. He lay in his bed still thinking, then with one last though he smiled and fell fast asleep.

OOC: I hope you guys aren't offended if one of my charies won? I kinda had plans for that if you don't mind? But other than first and possibly second you can have your charies come in in what ever position you want. And on the grass you guys can have you charies win and come in 2nd and so forth if you want.  Thanks alot guys!

Another figure had been outside, watching the maid push herself to go faster.  The figure was hidden from view, perched comfortably on an upturned barrel close to the wall.  She had seen Arlen, but she hadn't seen her.

After watching Adara take another passes along the wall, each time more labored than the last, the figure shook her head and sighed, knowing the maid would push herself to total and utter exhaustion.  With that thougt, Freedom left her corner and climbed the stairs, Adara resting on the walltop.

"All right young'un, I think you've done enough for tonight, don't you?"  The Healer chided her like she was her own, sitting down next to her and dabbing at her forehead with a rag.  "You don't want to undo all the time and effort it's taken to get you all healed up do you?"  Freedom chuckled lightly, the older mouse's bright green eyes sparkling fondly in the moonlight at the young squirrel.

"All right young'un, I think you've done enough for tonight, don't you?"

Adara looked up startled. When she saw it was only Freedom she smiled.
" Hello Freedom, yes I think your probably right."
"You don't want to undo all the time and effort it's taken to get you all healed up do you?"

Adara sighed,
" I suppose not Sister, it did take a while didn't it. Ok I'll be done for tonight." She got up, her legs were shaking so she immediately sat back down again.
" I guess I'll wait a little while before I go to bed. What are you doing up this late Freedom? I though every beast would be abed by now.I'm more of a night time person, so I tend to stay up later."

Freedom laughed lightly and wrapped her arm around her shoulders, giving her a light and affectionate squeeze.  "You and I are a lot alike Adara; I'm more of a night-owl myself as well.  Besides, I knew you would be up here after young Master Arlen informed you of the race." she winked at Adara.  "I was a young'un once, I know how you guys think."

Freedom was usually a very quiet and reserved creature.  She did not display much emotion, but she was always kind.  The only time the healer ever broke out of her shell, is if she was around the dibbuns and young ones, such as Adara and Arlen, or Mira.  The fox always had a tendency to bring Freedom out of her shell, in various different ways, wether it be mirth or rage.  Though she liked all of the young ones, Freedom had a special soft spot for Adara, and the maid always had a tendency to make her smile.

**  "You and I are a lot alike Adara; I'm more of a night-owl myself as well.  Besides, I knew you would be up here after young Master Arlen informed you of the race."  "I was a young'un once, I know how you guys think."**

Adara blushed and looked away.
" you really know a lot Sister Freedom. but how did you know I would be up here? Does Arlen know I'm up here?" She looked a little worried.
" Are you going to run in the race Sister? "
She was a little nervous about the Race, she was a little shy not as much as Arlen but out in front of all those creatures? " I'm a little nervous Sister. What if I won?  What would I do then? I don't know what to do. I don't know your customs. What do I do Sister? I've never done this."
She was glad she had some beast to confide in. Since she had arrived at Redwall she had been lonely, and exept for Arlen she hadn't made many close friends.  All the beasts had been friendly to her of course but she had been a little shy, so many strangers. She spent a lot of her time by herself or with Arlen.

"Oh yes, he was out here for a moment, then he went to bed.  I knew you'd be up here, because I know I would be if my best friend had just told me about a race."  Freedom winked at her again and looked up at the moon before looking back at her young friend.  "You bet I'm going to join, I wouldn't miss it for the world."  She hugged the little maid to her and smiled softly as she looked down at the top of her head.  "Don't fret missy, it will all be just fine.  Being nervous is normal, I assure you.  I'm nervous about it too!"

She kissed the top of her head and got to her feet, pulling Adara up with her.  "And if you win, well young'un what you do is up to you, and you alone.  Everyone has different ways of taking things.  Personally, if I won, I'd flop to the ground like a dead fish and just lay there." she said with a chuckle.  "Don't worry about it dear, you'll know what to do when the time comes.  Now, to bed with you, it is late."

Adara looked up at Sister Freedom amazed.
" You? How could you be nervous? Your always so calm." Then she laughed, " well I don't think I would flop to the ground like a dead fish."  She smiled and looked up at the full moon. It was big round and bright. She sighed, "I suppose if I won i would do what seems best. She grinned. "I'd grab the trifle and run." Then Sister Freedom stood up and Adara stood up with her.
" Yes your right, I should be getting to bed now. Thank you Sister" she squeezed Freedom in a quick hug and started down the stairs. " Goodnight Sister Freedom!" She called back.

"Good night Adara, and sweet dreams!"  She watched the youngster go and smiled, choosing to stand on the walltop for a while longer, enjoying the cool night air.

She chuckled lightly to herself and headed to the stairs, humming lightly to herself.  When she reached the bottom she was brought to the ground with an unladylike "EEP!" both her and the attacker rolling around in the grass.

"MIRA YOU JERK!" her shouts and the fox's giggles echoed around the still grounds and off into the night.

Adara made her way up to her room quietly so as not to wake any other beasts. She paused and put her ear to Arlen's door to see if he was still awake. She heard him breathing steadily so she went on to her room. She lay there in bed thinking to herself, wondering, wondering what would happen tomorrow. Then without any warning she fell asleep.


_ Next Day_

Arlen was up early tending to his chores. He got a breakfast from the kitchen where the Friar had it waiting for him. Then balancing his tray carefully on one paw he made his way to the orchard. Once he had finished his breakfast he went to the pond shed his jerkin and jumped in for a quick dip. He climbed out much refreshed and grabbing a pail filled it with water and went about watering the plants that needed it. And just being busy.

Adara awoke with the morning sun on her face. She lay there in bed for a while then pushed back the covers and got up. She walked over to the window and stood there looking out over the pond and the orchard and out over the walls. Then she heard a splash, she looked down and saw Arlen in the pond. She watched as he swam around and then got out got dressed and went off on his chores. She turned away from the window and hurried down stairs. She found him gathering wood and taking it to the kitchens.
" Good morning Arlen." She said as she came up behind him. Startled Arlen looked around.
" Oh Hello Adara, how are you this morning?" He asked politely.
" I'm fine thank you. Would you like some help with that wood?" He blushed and turned away.
" You know you don't have to help Adara, but if you really want to you could. Here" he handed her an arm full and they both set off toward the kitchen.

OOC: If any other beast  wants to join its either now or never. (preferably now :P)

Freedom was up and early the next morning, the dawn light filtering in through her room faintly.  She sat up and stretched, then walked over to the basin on the the end table and splashed water on her face.  After she patted it dry she made her bed and changed out of her night gown, pulling her usual attire back on; a long-sleeved white blouse and an ankle length forest green shirt that tied at her right hip.  She decided to braid her hair this morning, instead of pull part of it back.

She was greeted by her best friend and Assistant Healer, Miranthia WarArrow.  The vixen was of the same height and age as the mouse, though instead of having her friends stoic demeanor, Mira was a happy-go-lucky creature that enjoyed pranking others.  Though somtimes it didn't end well for her.

She was a fox with beautiful golden fur, and long wavy black hair.  The tips of her ears, her paws, and the tip of her tail were also black.  Like Freedom, there was a fading brand on her right cheek.  Her eyes were a beautiful baby blue, and they were always dancing with mischief.

Freedom glared at Mira as the vixen walked up to her, a cocky grin on her face.  Though she had nothing to be smiling about; her right eye was swollen from where Freedom had socked her.  "Mornin' Freed, me ol' mate.  Strange thing, I thought you gave up bein' a warrior mouse?"

Freedom snorted as she accepted the bowl of porridge that was offered to her and went to sit amongst some youngsters, noticing that Adel and Adara were missing.

"Good morning Miranthia.  Strange thing, I thought you were an adult." she said frostily.

Mira giggled like a dibbun and sat next to her friend, shoving some dibbuns playfully aside; again, like her friend, she had a soft spot for the little things.  "Move over you fatties, Auntie Mira is gonna sit nex' to grumpy ol' Madame Sickbay."  Freedom glared at her icily and ate her breakfast in silence.  "Oh come on Freed, you know it was funny!"

Freedom tried to hide a faint smile, and was successful for the most part.  "Tell that to your eye, Goldielocks."

Mira touched her swollen eye tenderly and spooned down a couple mouthfuls of her steamy porridge.  "Erm yes well….mebe I shouldn' 'ave pounced on you in th' dark...."

Freedom nodded her head curtly, then eventually looked at her friend, her forced icy facade melting.  "You know I could give you something for that right?"

Silenis Wildlough was on a brief visit to the abbey. Her first appearance there was after being caught in a storm and rushed inside soaking wet and exhausted. The redwallers cared for her and were so kind, she promised she would come back when she departed from them.

Now it just so happened, that young mousemaid had informed Silenis a week in advance, that there was to be a race the following weekend. So Silenis made plans to attend the race. Very early on the morning of the race- she got together a few things, threw on her traveling clothes, and departed from her small area a residence she took up in the woods. It was cool out when she began her walk, and she got to the abbey fairly early. The gatekeeper, recognizing her, let Silenis inside.

As Silenis walked into the kitchen where she knew all the beasts would be at this time of morning, she ran into Arlen. Litterally ran into him that is. "Err…. sorry young squirrel fellow." She said smiling at him, and retrieving the wood she had caused him to drop. She winked at them. "Hello there, anyhow!" She said. "The name's Silenis Wildlough, and I don't believe I've seen you two around!"

"Well, enough monologuing from me!" Said Silenis, still talking. "Tell me were you want me to take this wood. Then you have to introduce yourselves and tell me all about this race yore havin'!" She grinned.

Mira grinned sheepishly at her friend and gobbled the rest of her porridge down.  "Nah I'm ok, 'tis my battle scar!"  she chuckled and looked around, slightly disappointed.  "Aww Freed, this little buggers ate all the bread!"  This was followed by several mischevious giggles, but when Mira whipped around to stare at the miscreants, they had their noses buried in their bowls.

Freedom rolled her eyes and got to her feet.  "Oh you whiner…  I'll be right back, I know where the Friar keeps a fresh batch hidden."

Mira squirmed in her seat and blew a kiss in the departing mouse's direction.  "I'll love you forever Madame SickBay!"

Freedom shook her head and tried to surpress the smile, but failed.  When she had finally reached the kitchen, she was rewarded with a welcoming sight.  Arlen and Adara were there, as well as another familiar face.  "Silenis Wildlough, is that you?"

Arlen and Adara were just carrying the wood into the kitchen when Arlen ran into an otter maid.
" Oh excuse me," he said blushing. " I'm sorry I wasn't watching where I was going." Then she started helping him pick up the wood.
" My name is Arlen, and this is Adara. I'm the abbey Caretaker. You can take it to the kitchens." He said, then they all made their way to the kitchens together and just as they were unloading Sister Freedom appeared.
" Hello Freedom!" Adara said " Is there any breakfast in there? I'm getting hungry." Arlen then disappeared as the three of them started talking. He was very shy and didn't talk much so he went back to doing chores.

Freedom smiled at Adara and nodded her head.  "Yes, go on a head young'un.  I'm getting more bread from the Friar's stock; all of ours at the talbe got eaten."

ooc: omg short 😣  Wait for Liz?

" My name is Arlen, and this is Adara. I'm the abbey Caretaker. You can take it to the kitchens."

"Right then, Arlen the Caretaker!" Said Silenis with a friendly smile, "I can do that!"

"Silenis Wildlough, is that you?"

"Ahh Freedom my friend! Is that you, or is that Madame SickBay?" She winked and gave the mouse a friendly hug. "It's great to see you again!" Said the Green Island otter.

She set down her wood. "So are you in the race also, Sister Freedom?" She asked. "Or will you just watch us?"

" Is there any breakfast in there? I'm getting hungry."
"Yes, go on a head young'un.  I'm getting more bread from the Friar's stock; all of ours at the table got eaten."

"I'm with ye' there young'un!" Said Silenis. "I'll join you soon, I'm sure." She looked around. Seeing the Arlen missing she was quite confused. Being a very sociable beast herself, she wondered why he would have left. "Ahh, the young Caretaker is missing. I'm sure I'll run into him later though." She smiled.

"And your bread was eaten y'say Freedom? Shame, Redwall bread is the best around. So… what's everybeast eating anyhow?"

Freedom laughed lightly.  "Yes, he's a rather shy creature, but he's a real sweetie."  She tweaked the end of the impudent young otter's nose.  "Call me Madame SickBay again, and they'll be eating Green Isle Otter Soup for breakfast!"  she winked at her friend and rummaged around in a cupboard, rewarded with several of the flaky loaves.

"Oh you know me, wouldn't miss the race for the world.  I'm running around the walltop, and Mira's running the grass race.  Though I'm not too sure that's such a great idea…." she closed the cupboard door with a light snap and turned to Silenis.  "If Mira hasn't eaten it all, there's fruit and honey porridge for breakfast."

Adara, Silenis and Freedom made their way back to Great Hall where every beast was eating. Adara sat down next to Freedom and Silenis. She dug in with a will,
" Could you pass me the honey Sister Freedom? Thank you, here try some of this Mushroom leek turnover Silenis you'll love it. Oh and here's some shrimp 'n' hotroot soup! I've heard otters really like this stuff. I think I'll try some." She dipped a ladle into the pot and filled her bowl. Then she started eating it, her face turned red and her eyes watered. She had some more.
" Mmm this is cough good." She said then she sneezed. She quickly grabbed a jug of strawberry cordial and chugged half of it down before she would let go of it.
" Would you like to try some Freedom?" She asked innocently grinning her cheeks still flushed.

Freedom snorted into her porridge and eyed the maid questionably.  "I'm good thanks, I'll stick to porridge."

Mira, on the other hand, after greeting Silenis giggled and dipped her bowl into the pot before she drained it in a single gulp.  Freedom's eyes grew wide and she moved away from her friend, urging the others to do the same.  "Oh this is going to be bad in about five seconds."

"Ahh that Mira. I s'pose I gotta sit at a table with her." She grinned. "Crazy Mira."

She followed the rest and took her seat at the table.

_" Could you pass me the honey Sister Freedom? Thank you, here try some of this Mushroom leek turnover Silenis you'll love it. Oh and here's some shrimp 'n' hotroot soup! I've heard otters really like this stuff. I think I'll try some." _
Silenis took the turnover with a polite "thanks" and tasted some. "Very good, Adara! Love Redwall cooking!"

"Wait a minute Adara…" She said as the young squirrel took some hotroot soup. "You may want to rethink..."

"Oh nevermind." She chuckled, as Adara drained her drink.

She smiled at Mira as Mira at the soup. "Oh... Mira."

"Oh this is going to be bad in about five seconds."

"Right ya' thin-skinned beasts!" She said with a wink at Freedom. "Hows about ya' watch a real otter at work." Grabbing a large bowl of the soup, she threw extra hotroot inside, and pushed her drink away from her. Tilting her head back she spooned the contents of the bowl into her mouth steadily. Without a blink she sat there as the hotroot took effect.

"Ahh… excellent.." She said after a pause. "They do make this stuff rather weak though. Must be so the Redwallers don't all burst up in flame."

She made a face. "Okay... I'm full now... It's tempting to get more of that food but... I couldn't right before a race."

Mira scoffed and wrinkled her nose at Freedom.  "Fixe seconds?  What are you goin' on about Madame Si-"  and she stopped.  Her eyes opened wide in shock and her jaw dropped.

The creatures she had ran over looked at her rapidly disappearing back in bewilderment, their breakfasts scattered around the table.

Freedom almost feel off her chair she was laughing so hard.

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